“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.”
– Matthew 18:23-27
Sometimes Jesus’ stories lose a measure of their impact in translation. This is definitely the case with the parable of the debtor, which was the Lord’s answer to Peter’s inquiry about how many times he should forgive his neighbor. The story goes that a man owed his king ten thousand bags of gold; however this is where the “WOW” factor gets lost. The word originally used in this text was myriad, which translates as ten thousand, but it actually denotes the largest amount known to society in that day, and to the reader, it would have represented an infinite sum. Even more fascinating is the fact that the word translated as bags is really talent, which was a measure of weight roughly equivalent to that of one person. So ten thousand talents was the weight of ten thousand people in gold — that’s how much the servant owed his master. Today, we would say he owed him billions of dollars. It’s not surprising, then, that when the king decided to settle his books, this guy was at the top of his list. He called him in and told him that he intended to sell him and his family into slavery unless he payed the entire sum. Desperate and with very little to lose, the man threw himself before his master and assured him that he would pay it all back. Of course, this would have been impossible, even if he had devoted every day for the rest of his life to the cause, so the king took pity on him. Moved with compassion and wanting him to be free, he softened his heart and let his servant go, telling him his debt was forgiven completely.
My friend, you are the debtor who’s been forgiven a myriad. Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, opened His book and erased your name from the ledger, as if you never owed a thing. Though your sin carried the weight of ten thousand talents, He took the entirety of your burden and set you free to run, unencumbered, for the rest of your life. When you received Him, He gave you a new name and a clean slate; one that is defined by His righteousness. Though it’s tempting to take back a portion of the debt He so willingly paid, your best life is lived on the other side of the cross, where Jesus delights in fellowshipping with you in fields of mercy.
Thank you, Jesus, for forgiving me a myriad. Help me to walk in the fullness of your mercy.
Do you walk in the freedom of knowing that you are forgiven? Why or why not?
If you’re unable to attend your local church or need some additional weekly inspiration, be sure to tune into Hour of Power every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. PT on TBN or watch online at hourofpower.org/episode.