Matthew 18:21-35

Talks for Growing Christians

A Parable on Forgiving One Another

Matthew 18:21-35

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Lesson Number 49

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. A forgiving spirit is surely expected by our heavenly Father.
  2. An unforgiving spirit is severely judged by our heavenly Father.

Practical Application

  1. Make sure of your salvation.


  1. How many times did the Jewish Rabbis say you should forgive someone who sinned against you?
  2. How does this passage about forgiveness fit into the context of Matthew 18?
  3. Who do the king and servant represent in this parable?
  4. What did the servant do after he had been forgiven by the king?
  5. What is the point of this parable?


  1. Three times. Peter thought he was being very generous by suggesting seven times.
  2. In the previous section, the procedure to follow when a fellow believer sins against you was outlined. A crucial part of the process is forgiveness on your part. We need to be willing to forgive throughout the process.
  3. The king or master in this parable represents God. The servant represents us sinners who are in debt to God because of our sin.
  4. He went to his fellow servant who owed him a comparably tiny amount of money and demanded to be repaid. He would not show mercy to this servant, but had him thrown into prison.
  5. If we have truly responded to the grace of God and received His forgiveness, we should have a forgiving spirit.


  1. God is willing to forgive our great debt, because the Lord Jesus paid that debt on our behalf. Consider how impossible it would have been for us to pay that debt on our own. Thank the Lord for His forgiveness today.
  2. Discuss the interpretation of the unforgiving servant who was delivered to the torturers.


  1. Do you have a brother or sister in the Lord that you need to forgive? An unforgiving heart will allow bitterness and resentment to take root in you. Consider how much our Lord has forgiven you, and be willing to forgive your brother.

Key Verses

  • “‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” Matthew 18:21-22
  • “Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?” Matthew 18:33

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