THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT

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    [Matthew:18:21-35]; [Luke:17:11-19].

    Lesson No.: 
    77
    Class: 
    Elementary
    Memory Verse: 

    "In every thing give thanks" (I Thessalonians 5:18).

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    Notes: 

    Our Forgiving Saviour
    How thankful we should be that Jesus forgives us when we are sorry that we have done anything that He would not have us do! If we ask Him to help us not to do wrong, He will surely help us.

    Jesus tells us in His Word that we must forgive those who ask us to forgive them. One day a man named Peter, who loved Jesus very much came to Jesus and asked Him how many times he should forgive a person who had done him wrong. Perhaps Peter had forgiven that man several times and he was wondering just how many more times he would have to go on forgiving him. So he went to Jesus to find out. It was a good thing for Peter to go to Jesus to learn what to do. He always knows what is the right thing to tell people. Perhaps Peter thought he would be doing very well when he forgave a man seven times. Some people will not forgive even one time. But Jesus said to Peter: "I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."

    When Jesus said seventy times seven we are certain He did not mean 490 times only, but meant that he should forgive as many times as the man asked him. We are glad that Jesus does not say he will forgive only a certain number of times. We know that He will forgive as long as we are really sorry for the wrong thing we have done and try with all our hearts not to do it again.

    The Unthankful Servant
    Then Jesus told peter about a man who owed a king much money. But he did not have that much money with which to pay. Then the king said that the man and his wife and children and all that he had would have to be sold, to get the money to pay the debt. Of course, that made the man feel very sad. Perhaps he and his wife and the children would be separated, and work as slaves, or even be carried to other countries. We have read about a little girl who was taken to another country to work in the home of a captain who was a leper.

    The man who owed the money fell down at the feet of the king and said: "Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all." The king must have been a kind man, for he felt sorry for the poor man and told him he did not have to pay the money at all. How glad the man must have been when the king said that!

    The Cruel Act
    That same man to whom the king had been so kind went out and found a man who owed him much less money than he himself had owed the king. When the man said he could not pay the money, the cruel man took him by the throat and said he would have to pay the debt. Then the poor man who owed the money did just as the cruel man had done with the king – fell at his feet and said, "Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all." The cruel man would not forgive him but put him in prison to stay until the debt was paid.

    The Punishment
    The king heard what the cruel man had done and he was angry about it. He called that man and said: "O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?" Then the king had the cruel man punished until he paid all that he owed the king.

    True Forgiveness
    From this lesson we learn that God is kind to forgive us, but He expects us to forgive others, too. Sometimes people say they forgive but in their hearts they still keep a bad feeling. Jesus said we must forgive also with our hearts. The Bible tells us that if we do not forgive others God cannot forgive us. In the beautiful prayer Jesus taught His disciples He said we should ask God to forgive us as we forgive others. We want God to forgive us and forget the wrong we have done. For that reason we must also forgive and forget the wrong things others may do to us. If we do not God will have to punish us as the king had to punish the cruel man who would not forgive the poor man. We must ask God to help us to be like Jesus and to do as Jesus would do.

    Questions: 

    1. How many times did Jesus tell Peter to forgive? [Matthew:18:22].
    2. Did the king forgive the servant his debt? [Matthew:18:27].
    3. What did the servant do then? [Matthew:18:28].
    4. Was that the right thing to do? [Matthew:18:33]; [Matthew:6:15].
    5. What did Jesus teach about forgiving in the Lord's Prayer? [Matthew:6:12].