Text: Matthew 18:21-35
What can we compare it to?
Is it like a king who wants to settle accounts with his servants?
In Matt 18:21-35, the king’s own business of settling accounts is resolved early in this story. Jesus quickly turns Peter’s question about how many times he should forgive his brother into a narrative about justice and judgement. This king, who is compared with the kingdom of heaven, enters into judgement.
The king’s judgement seems to be based on Jesus’ teaching on prayer.
Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matt 6:12)
The king’s judgement finds its priorities in Jesus’ interpretation of the law.
Love your neighbour as yourself. (Matt 22:34-40)
The king’s judgement seems guided by Jesus’ wisdom.
With the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matt 7:2)
It reflects Jesus reasoning
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? (Matt 7:4)
The king’s judgement is informed by the testimony of a group of witnesses, as encouraged by Jesus in Matt 18:15-20.
The king’s judgement is attentive to a financial transaction which is so small, it might not be detectable in the king’s own accounting system. (consistent with the ‘least’ of Matt 25:45)
According to Matt 6:15, the king has risked all that he has stood for in the settlement of his accounts on behalf of one poor man, who doesn’t seem to owe him anything.
If you do not forgive men their sins, your father will not forgive your sins. (Matt 6:15)
To think about:
What are you critical of when you speak about HIV?
Have you applied this critique to yourself and your people?
Would it sound like the kingdom of heaven, which Jesus preached about, to build a parable around a character whose judgement was based on your argument?
To whom do people appeal when we are like the wealthy servant whose large debt was forgiven? Perhaps they can also be compared with the kingdom of God