VBS Week is going great!
Keep praying for these kids and their families.
Here are some key points for the lesson this week:
1. Peter’s question in verse 21 came out of the teaching regarding church discipline in 18:15-20.
The goal of church discipline is not to excommunicate. Excommunication is a means to the intended end. The goal of discipline is always restoration. At some point along the line, we desire that people who undergo church discipline will turn and repent and be brought back into the fellowship of the church. When repentance occurs, often times forgiveness is needed. If you have sinned against me and repented, I must forgive you. So from that discussion, Peter asks Jesus, “how often should I forgive?” Is there a limit to the amount of forgiveness that we should offer? That is the main question being dealt with in this text.
2. The forgiveness we offer to others must be motivated by the forgiveness offered to us.
That is the point of Jesus’ story. He tells of one man who owed 10 billion dollars (in modern currency), yet was forgiven. This same man was owed about $1300 and could not think of forgiving the debt. Jesus makes the point that if you are forgiven much, you ought to forgive others the little they do against you.
Notice that while Jesus is using a financial example for his story, the main application of the lesson has to do with forgiveness when someone has wronged you. That may or may not include financial debt, but it always has to do with heart issues. If you find it difficult to forgive someone, you must look to the cross and consider how much Christ has forgiven you.
3. The inability to forgive others has grave consequences for your soul.
Jesus ends by saying that God will cast us off if we don’t forgive others. This is a normal way that Jesus spoke in order to emphasize his point. What Jesus wants us to know here is that the person who cannot forgive another has no real sense of what type of forgiveness has been offered to him. In other words, if I am an unforgiving person, I have not come to truly understand the gospel. Therefore, I cannot be considered a true follower of Christ. The true Christian has an ever-increasing sense of both his guilt before God, and the relief granted by grace through Christ.