Thrust Statement: Jesus hammered home this doctrine of forgiveness toward others as essential to God’s forgiveness.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 18:23-35

            This parable is a story that stands out in biblical history as a narrative about forgiveness—forgiveness that is unimaginable. One cannot read this account of the merciful king and the unforgiving servant without reflection upon the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).[1] This scenario is a clear call to the focus of the Gospel of God—forgiveness in and through Jesus Christ.  As one reads this short parable, one hears within his or her innermost being the warning, “go home and do the same.” Christians want forgiveness, but, at the same time, they find it difficult to forgive others. This parable demands that individuals incorporate the sprit of forgiveness into their daily walk with God. One objective of this study is to call attention to the need of forgiveness toward all people.

            Jesus hammered home, as it were, this doctrine of forgiveness. On one occasion, Jesus spoke to His disciples about forgiveness within the context of parables dealing with the lost (Luke 15): “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4 If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him” (Luke 17:3). Jesus constantly drove home this point about forgiveness, which is what the Gospel of Christ is about. It is in this regard that Isaiah writes with exactness: “He bore the sin of many” (Isaiah 53:12). Jeremiah, who speaks of the Messianic age, writes: “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). Some of the last words that Jesus uttered upon the Cross were about forgiveness: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

            In the reading of this parable, one observes Jesus, according to Matthew’s account, addressing the subject of forgiveness prior to His telling the story of the merciful king and the unforgiving servant: “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ 22 Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times’” (Matthew 18:21-23).a This moving story about the unforgiving servant follows immediately (18:23-35) and concludes with a strong denunciation against an unforgiving spirit: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (18:35).

One cannot read the conversation between Peter and Jesus without awareness that one who “counts” has not forgiven at all. Paul seems to reflect this same mindset when he writes to the Corinthians about love: “It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Surely, Peter must have considered his exchange with Jesus when he wrote his first epistle: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Pay attention to Jesus as he tells the heart wrenching story of the servant who failed to show mercy when he had himself received abundant mercy:

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talentsb was brought to him. 25 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. 26 “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.c He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:23-35).

            This parable sets forth judgment for the individual who fails to render obedience to God’s will—forgiveness toward others. How should men and women react when others sin against them? Everyone is conscious that life demands responsibility of forbearance, mercy, and leniency toward impious, irreligious, unspiritual, or wicked behavior. When one violates the rights of others, society demands an accounting for ungodly behavior. If one takes his or her behavior toward others seriously, he or she would take God seriously about pardon. Since one is always conscious of his or her own sins, this understanding should make a difference in one’s conduct toward those who sin against him or her. If one expects God’s amnesty through repentance, then one should exercise this same mercy toward those who sin against him or her. How can one pray, “Forgive us our debts” if one is not willing to forgive other “debtors” (6:12)?

            No one is without sin: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” writes Paul (Romans 3:23). This parable of Jesus (Matthew 18:23-35) is reminiscent of Jesus’ encounter with the woman caught in the act of adultery, as recorded by John. Listen to this narrative as John seeks to call attention to sin and forgiveness:

1  Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6  This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more (John 8:1-11).[2]

            As one reads the parable about forgiveness, one is immediately confronted with a view of what the kingdom of heaven (hJ basileiva tw'n oujranw'n &h basileia twn ouranwn) is like. In other words, Jesus is saying that the kingdom of heaven is like the following story—a story of grace and mercy. In this story, God does not want His people to be like the unforgiving servant. In this narrative, Jesus draws a distinction between debt that is impossible to repay and a trifling debt that is easily manageable. Jesus speaks of a debt that amounts to “ten thousand talents” (Matthew 18:24) and a debt that totals “a hundred denarii” (18:28). In order to fully grasp the significance between the two debts, one must understand something of the monetary value involved. Eugene Boring explains the monetary value of ten thousand talents:

A talent is the largest monetary unit (20.4 kg of silver), equal to 6,000 drachmas, the wages of a manual laborer for fifteen years. “Ten thousand” (muriav" murias, “myriad”) is the largest possible number. Thus the combination is the largest figure that can be given. The annual tax income for all of Herod the Great’s territories was 900 talents per year. Ten thousand talents would exceed the taxes for all of Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, and Samaria. The amount is fantastic, beyond all calculation.[3]

            Warren W. Wiersbe writes that a man in that day would have to work for twenty years to earn one talent.[4] In this parable, one witnesses in miniature what the Gospel is about—forgiveness. Vernon McGee estimates that the amount (10,000 talents) is equal to 12,000,000 dollars.[5] On the other hand, the one hundred denarii (hundred pencec, KJV) are equivalent to seventeen dollars.[6] When one compares twelve million dollars to seventeen dollars, one quickly sees the mercy and grace of God in His dealings with the sins of humanity. Since this story is about the “kingdom of heaven,” one can quickly observe in this narrative a picture of one’s spiritual bankruptcy before God. The amount of debt is so stupendous for both men and women that no one could ever remove this debt. This debt is so immense in the eyes of God that only God Himself can remove. Based on human frailty, there is a total inability to pay such a gigantic sum. Yet, in this pericope, Jesus gives an insight as to the compassion of God in His dealings with the sins of mankind.

            Jesus speaks of the “lord” in the parable as having pity (splagcnivzomai splagcnizomai, “compassion”), a word that is frequently employed of Christ toward multitudes and individual sufferers (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 18:27; 20:34). Compassion is the inner drive of God from which mercy flows. This sympathy resulted in forgiveness (ajfh'ken afhken, “forgave”). Lenski’s comments unfolds the magnitude of this Greek word afhken: “The verb ajfh'ken (afhken) is most significant: ‘he remitted’ the debt, literally, ‘dismissed and sent it away.’”[7] For the believer, God accomplishes this forgiveness through the atonement of Christ upon the Cross.  This meaning of this Greek word (afhken) as used by Jesus is set forth in a psalm of David: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).[8]  God, through Jesus, removes transgressions. There is a sense in which this parable paints a photograph of biblical justification—God declares the sinner free from guilt. Micah, too, declares God’s forgiveness this way: “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). This is what the “king” does for his servant in this story.

            Jesus uses hyperbole (overstatement) in this parable in order to bring home the compassion of God toward the sinner and to illustrate the importance of His people extending forgiveness to those who sin against them. As stated above, ten thousand talents exceeded the taxes for all of Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, and Samaria. In other words, Jesus is saying that the sins committed against another human being is comparatively small in comparison to one’s sins against God, only seventeen dollars versus twelve million (one denarii = 17 cents). The ten thousand talents illustrates that one’s debt is so immensely large that it cannot be estimated or numbered, so to speak. The king of this servant represents the mercy of God to men and women. Both have sinned. Both equally owe to God more than one can pay. They equally deserve to be punished, but God has mercy (compassion).

            Since God extends such pardon, individuals must also extend forgiveness to those who request. Jesus illustrates the forgiven (the king’s servant) by his refusal to forgive (his debtor). In fact, says Jesus, this man who was forgiven such a great debt went out and found a person who owed him just one hundred denarri (seventeen dollars) and “grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ He demanded” (Matthew 18:28). This servant too fell to his knees and begged for mercy, but no mercy. He was thrown into prison until he could pay (28:29-30). This ghastly behavior was reported back to the “lord,” and he took drastic measures against this ungrateful and unforgiving servant. This man (debtor to the man (king) who had forgiven) was arrested and turned over to the jailors to be tormented (18:34). Do you recall the way Jesus began this parable about forgiveness? Pay attention once more: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants” (18:23). As Jesus concludes his remarks about forgiveness, he goes right to the very heart of forgiveness and compassion and kindness: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (18:35).

            For one to receive God’s remission of sins without extending forgiveness to others who sin against him or her is moral outrage. God’s indescribable kindness should melt the hearts of men and women toward others with mercy and compassion. This parable, according to Jesus, is intended as a warning against the unmerciful. This acquittal must be genuine—“forgive your brother from your heart.”  This kind of clemency cannot just come from the lips—no pretense. When Paul wrote to the Colossians, he, no doubt, reflected upon this heart-wrenching story as he admonishes the saints: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).  It is also in this same regard that Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

            The Sermon on the Mount begins with the comments about mercy: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy (Matthew 5:7)? Luke reports a sermon of Jesus in which Jesus said: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 7:36). Straight away following these comments, Jesus once more reinforces the need to forgive: “Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (7:37).  This parable (Matthew 18) is about the kingdom of heaven and forgiveness. One cannot discuss these two subjects without reflection upon God’s scheme of redemption “in” and “through” Christ. In the Book of Romans, Paul develops this theme of forgiveness “in” and “through” Jesus (Romans 1—8). The Book of Romans is but an enlargement of this parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18. In Romans, one witnesses God’s forgiveness “in” and “through” Jesus Christ. God in His mercy makes salvation available through faith in His Son.  Before analyzing Paul’s words in Romans, this writer wishes to call attention to the words of Paul to the Ephesians as he seeks to tell the story of redemption:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful naturea and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:1-10).

The Book of Romans develops this “wisdom of God.” God’s wisdom is unfolded in the Gospel. The Gospel reveals how God can be just and, at the same time, justify sinful men and women. What has God accomplished for sinful humanity? God in His wisdom designed a way to justify both men and women in their lost condition. Paul writes to the Corinthians about this wisdom from God:

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord”b (1 Corinthians 1:29-30).

 The parable in Matthew 18 is the Gospel of God in miniature. If one understands justification, no one can refuse forgiveness to others. Biblical justification is about forgiveness. Paul focuses on biblical justification in Romans 1:16-17. Forgiveness with God is “without a cause” from one’s own merits; forgiveness is grace in action; it is pure compassion. These two Scriptures in Romans 1 represent the very hub of Paul’s teaching on justification by faith. These two verses set forth the very heart of this Epistle—justification by faith. Paul writes: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (1:16). The Good News is about God’s Way of salvation “in” and “through” His Son Jesus. This Gospel is God’s power for the salvation of both men and women.

Thus Paul writes with equal power the following words as he seeks to draw attention to the Gospel of God: “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’” (1:17). It is “in the gospel” that God reveals His method of justification. In the Greek text, Paul writes: “in it” (evn auvtw/', en autw), that is to say, in the Gospel. It is in this Gospel that God reveals a righteousness that comes directly from Himself. Paul expresses this truth this way: “righteousness from God (dikaiosuvnh qeou' dikaiosunh qeou).[9] In other words, Paul is saying that this righteousness originates in God—God is its source or origin.

            In verse seventeen, Paul zeros in on faith as the means of receiving this “righteousness from God.”  He says that this is “a righteousness that is by faith from first to last” (evk pivstew" eiv" pivstin, ek pistews eis pistin). Paul is emphasizing that this “righteousness from God” begins with faith and ends with faith. In chapters 1 and 2, Paul paints a rather dismal picture of both Jew and Gentile—both under condemnation. In 3:23, Paul writes: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Again, Paul writes that the Law of God shuts everyone’s mouth (3:19). Thus Paul says, “no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law” (3:20). But Paul does not stop with this rather dismal picture of the state of humanity. He goes on to say:

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe (3:21-22).

            Paul begins 3:21 with two of the greatest words in all of the English language—“But now.” “But now” (NuniV dev, Nuni de) reveals His way of salvation that involves a “righteousness from God,” a righteousness that “comes through faith in Jesus Christ.” In the new aeon (Messianic age), one is “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (3:24). The word freely in the Greek text is dwreavn (dwrean), which is the same word employed in John 15:25 in which Jesus says, “They hated me without reason.” The phrase “without reason” is the Greek word dwrean, which is translated in the KJV as “without a cause.”        Paul, in Chapter 4 of Romans, illustrates “without a cause” with the story of Abraham.

In the next four chapters, Paul illustrates that freedom from God’s wrath (chapter 5), freedom from the dominion of sin (chapter 6), freedom from the curse of the Law (chapter 7), and freedom from condemnation (chapter 8) are found only “in” and “through” Jesus Christ. The very end of chapter 5, Paul writes: “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (diav vIhsou' Cristou', dia Ihsou Cristou) [5:21]; in chapter 6, he pens: “In Christ Jesus our Lord” (evn Cristw'/ vIhsou', en Cristw Ihsou) [6:23]; in chapter 7, he again focuses on Christ: “Through Jesus Christ our Lord” (diav vIhsou' Cristou', dia Ihsou Cristou) [7:25]; and, finally, in chapter 8, he writes: “in Christ Jesus” (evn Cristw'/ vIhsou', en Cristw Ihsou) [8:39]. Paul alternates between “through” and “in.” In these four chapters (5—8), Paul amplifies, as it were, Romans 1:16-17).

Paul explains, in this Book, the overall theme of  “imputed righteousness,” that is to say, righteousness credited (logivzomai logizomai) to one through faith in Jesus. This is how God forgives—God credits to one His righteousness through faith in Jesus. Paul employs the word logivzomai (logizomai) eleven times[10] in the fourth chapter of Romans. In the KJV, this Greek word is translated as “counted” (4:3, 5), “reckoned” (4:4, 9, 10), “imputeth” (4:6), and “imputed” (4:11, 22, 23, 24). The NIV translates this same Greek word as “credited” (4:3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 22, 23), “credits” (4:6), and “credit” (4:24).  Paul uses Abraham to prove that God’s righteousness can only be imputed, not earned. In 4:4-8, Paul stressed that works did not justify Abraham. In 4:9-12, he emphasized that circumcision did not justify Abraham. In 4:13-15, he underscored the point that the Law did not justify Abraham. And, finally, in 4:16-25, he zeros in on faith as the only means of justification.

The Jews sought a right relationship with God through law keeping. But, on the other hand, Paul states emphatically: “However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited (logivzomai logizomai)) as righteousness. Again, as Paul concludes his thoughts about a righteousness that is “imputed,” or “credited,” he writes:

The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

            For Paul there are only two kinds of righteousness; that is to way, one that is  achieved by Law (active way of works), and one that is a gift from God by faith (a divine creation). The aim of Romans 4 is to prove that the righteousness from God is only received by faith. As one examines Abraham, one soon discovers that the decisive thing in Abraham is his faith, or trust, in God. This imputation of righteousness is solely by and through grace. Paul calls attention to the fact that Abraham was righteous by faith before circumcision. Circumcision was only later added as a seal of his righteousness by faith. This righteousness is a gift of God. Toward the end of chapter 4, Paul’s argument is that Abraham’s faith is present and has reached its fulfillment in Christ’s community.

As Paul examines the Messianic age, he develops the concept that a new basis of life has been brought about through Jesus Christ. In other words, with the coming of Jesus, one can stand on the ground of God’s actions in and through Jesus. This is the wisdom of God in display. One cannot stand on the Law or on one’s deeds, but rather, one can only stand on the ground of God’s actions. The question that confronts everyone is this: Does one become righteous of himself or herself or does one become righteous through the gift of God? When one understands God’s gift of forgiveness in and through Christ, one then extends forgiveness to those who sins against him or her.

CONCLUSION

            Divine and human forgiveness go hand in hand. One of the major points of the parable is the contrast between the two debts—twelve million dollars versus seventeen dollars. When forgiveness takes place with God, one witnesses a miracle—a right relationship between the Creator and us. Forgiveness of sins is nothing less than sonship, that is to say, the establishment of spiritual union between God and us. One’s own conscience tells him or her that since one has received forgiveness from God, then one must extend forgiveness to others. One requirement for forgiveness is that one must forgive in order to be forgiven –“Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). It is impossible for one to have a relationship with God based upon grace, and, at the same time, to have a relationship with men and women based on law.

            If one wishes to share in God’s mercy, then one must live with his or her neighbors, not according to law, but according to mercy. This principle is found throughout God’s Word. This attitude of leniency is a vital requirement of the divine-human relationship. In this understanding of pity, one gets a glimpse into the mystery of the Gospel of God. One must always be conscious that his or her trespasses against God are greater than any trespass against any human being. Unless one appreciates pardon, one will never recognize the message of the Cross. It is in the Cross that one sees the immensity of his or her debt. Unless one is crushed, one will not see the Cross of Jesus in all its horror. Unless one is packed down, at it were, at the foot of the Cross, one will not be able to see the Cross. One belongs there, on the gallows, where Jesus hangs on account of the sins of humanity—yes, your sins and mine. One must be crucified with Christ if one expects the Cross of Christ to help him or her.

            When one stands at the Cross, God stands with that person, in spite of all he or she has done. When one is crucified with Christ, God makes one a new being. If one is not renewed in God’s love, his or her sins are not cancelled. For one to receive God’s forgiveness means one receives God’s love. Whenever one receives God’s love, one lives in God’s love. When one lives in God’s love, one lives in fellowship with his brothers and sisters in Christ. One meets others in love just as God meets one in love. If one’s relationship with God is new, then one’s relationship with his or her fellow believers will be new.

At this point, I wish to address you (second person singular) as an individual. I want this message to be personal. I want you to place yourself within this parable. What does this parable mean to you? Are you a forgiving person? Do you hold grudges? Do you seek God’s forgiveness through the Cross of Jesus? Can you pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”? Are you merciful? Are you kind? Do you forgive others just as God in Christ has forgiven you? What does seventy times seven mean to you? Do you remember these words: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35)? Emil Brunner captures the implications of this marvelous parable of the merciful king and the unforgiving servant:

But how can we break through to Christ. To this power and this life? There is no other way than that indicated in this parable, as in the one of the prodigal son. We must come to ourselves, arise, and go to our Father, saying, “I have sinned an am no longer worthy to be called your son” or fall on our knees before the King to implore his mercy. Where this takes place, we will understand the cross of Christ, even better, we will meet him, the crucified, to receive from his hands the judgment of our guilt, forgiveness, and his wholly incomprehensible love. It is not necessary to have first a certain theory about the cross; it is sufficient to be entirely honest with ourselves and to acknowledge our predicament in order to realize that we need both, the word of pardon and the deed of reconciliation. Then God speaks himself to us in the Word of the cross of his Christ. At the very moment we feel our need of Christ, we shall meet him and receive new life from him. May God give it to many, even to all of us. Amen.[11]

 



[1] All Scripture citations are from the New International Version (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984), unless stated otherwise.

            a Or seventy times seven

            b That is, millions of dollars

                c That is, a few dollars

[2]The Holy Bible : King James Version., (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995).

[3] M. Eugene Boring, The Gospel of Matthew in Leander E. Kech, Senior Ed, The New Interpreter’s Bible (NIB) Vol., VIII (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995), 382.

[4] Warren W. Wiersbe, “Matthew” in The Bible Exposition Commentary: An Exposition of the New Testament Comprising the Entire “Be” Series, Vol., 1 (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Chariot Victor Publishing, 1989), 67.

[5] J. Vernon McGee, “Matthew” in Thru the Bible, Vol., 4 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983), 101.

[6] Vernon McGee, Ibid.

[7] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of Matthew’s Gospel, Commentary on the New Testament (1943; reprint, Hendrickson Publishers, 1998), 715.

[8] Ibid.

            a Or our flesh

            b Jer. 9:24

[9] Dikaiosuvnh qeou' (dikaiosunh qeou) can be either genitive or ablative case in Greek. The NIV translates the Greek case as ablative. The ablative case uses the same form as the Genitive. Even though both forms are the same in Greek, nevertheless, the function is different.  For example, if one should read the following sentence, “The man sends the servants from the house (tou' oiJvkou tou oikou),” one observes that “from the house” is ablative, which indicates origin or source.

[10] Romans 4:3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 22, 23, 24.

[11] Emil Brunner, “The Merciful King and the Unforgiving Servant” in Sowing and Reaping: The Parables of Jesus (London: Epworth Press, 1964), 66-67. I am indebted to Brunner for his keen insight into this parable.