A Massive Debt And A Merciful Lord

A Massive Debt And A Merciful Lord

To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him.
–Daniel 9:9

Jesus told us how and why we ought to forgive in the parable of the unforgiving servant. He said, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him” (Matthew 18:23-24).

This king was apparently having a serious cash-flow problem, so he called in everybody who owed him money. He started with a slave who owed him 10,000 talents. A talent is about 80 pounds of gold, so this slave owed the king 800,000 pounds of gold. How in the world could a slave end up owing that much money? Did he play the lottery too often? Did he max out his MasterCard? Remember, this is a parable. Jesus was using an exaggeration to say, “This slave owed a debt he could never possibly repay.”

Jesus continued in verse 25, “Since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.” This was the king’s legal right. But verse 26 says, “The slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’” Can you imagine a sight any more pitiful? There was never any way he could repay that debt.

Look at the king’s response: “The lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt” (v. 27). Let’s make the obvious analogy. The king represents God; the slave represents us. The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that all of us have sinned against God, and because of that, we have a debt we owe God–a debt we could never repay. How ridiculous it is to think there is anything we could ever do to repay that sin debt! We owe God a debt we could never pay in ten thousand lifetimes. And the Bible says for that reason, God has every right to sentence us to the prison of hell for all eternity. That is what we deserve.

But God in His mercy looked down on our need, and for no other reason than the great love He has for you and me, He decided to pay the debt Himself. That is what He did when He sent His Son to die on the cross. And when we trust in Jesus as our Savior, God wipes the slate clean. He writes over our debt, “Paid in full.”


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Freedom Of Forgiveness” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2005.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org