LIFE OF CHRIST
A Harmony of the Gospels
Now while they were staying in Galilee,
said to them, "The Son of Man is about to
be betrayed into the hands of men, (23) and they
will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up."
|And they were
Then they departed from there and passed through Galilee, and He
did not want anyone to know it.
For He taught His disciples and said to them, "The
Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they
will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third
But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask
And they were all amazed at the majesty of God.
But while everyone marveled at all the things which Jesus did,
to His disciples, (44) "Let
these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is
about to be betrayed into the hands of men."
But they did not understand this saying, and it was hidden from
them so that they did not perceive it; and they were afraid to
ask Him about this saying.
Let these words sink down
Syriac has: Let it sink down into your hearts.
The Son of Man is being betrayed
The present tense is graphic, and shows durative action:
"the Son of Man
is being betrayed into the hands of men."
The future act is realized by
the Lord as already present, and is regarded as imminent and indeed in
process of accomplishment. Romans 4:17- "calls those things
which do not exist as though they did."
The act on the part of men had not yet been
committed, yet it was already a settled fact in the mind of God.
Jesus had now wandered to the utmost northern limit of the Holy Land, and
He began to turn His steps homewards. We see from Mark that His return was
designedly secret and secluded, and possibly not along the high roads, but
rather through the hills and valleys of Upper Galilee to the westward of
the Jordan. His object was no longer to teach the multitudes that had been
seduced into rejecting Him, and among whom He could hardly appear in
safety, but to continue that other and even more essential part of His
work, which consisted in the training of His disciples
And now the constant subject of His teaching was His approaching betrayal,
murder, and resurrection.
But He spoke to dull hearts;
deep-seated prejudice they ignored His clear warnings,
in their faithless timidity they would not ask for further
We cannot see more
strikingly how vast was the change which the resurrection wrought in them
than by observing with what simple truthfulness they record the extent and
inveteracy of their own shortcomings, during those precious days while the
Lord was yet among them.
Three times He referred to His death and resurrection in veiled terms:
||Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise
||Referring to His body -
only physical destruction,
and HE will raise it up!
||And as Moses lifted up the serpent ... even so must
the Son of Man be lifted up.
||Speaking of His death on the cross as a healing for
||...no sign will be given to it except the sign of
Jonah the prophet
||Jonah was in the belly of the wale 3 days, then
was spit out.
speaks in specific terms:
||Speaks of a friend, for betrayal cannot
come but at the loss of trust
|They will kill Him
||And He will allow it - the Sacrifice
for our sin was Voluntary
|He will rise up
||Because He lives, we will live -
says: He led captivity captive
1 Cor 15:54 says: Death is swallowed up in victory
|The 3rd day
||A specific time - all was according to
a predetermined plan
They had a fond conceit of his temporal kingdom, and that he should
reign, and they with him, in secular pomp and power; and now they
thought that this mighty power of his would easily effect the thing,
and his interest gained by his miracles in the people would contribute to
it; and therefore Christ, who knew what was in their hearts,
takes this occasion to tell them again, what he had told them
and all his miracles, and the interest he has by
them gained in the hearts of the people, will not be able to prevent it.
|that he was so far from having men delivered into
|that he must be delivered into the
hands of men,
|so far from living in honor
|that he must die in disgrace;
They did not understand
|They were troubled - exceedingly sorrowful
|They did not understand
|It was hidden from them
Why was it hidden from them?
Because Jesus had to die
Had they understood the natural significance, they may have tried to
prevent His death,
|They could not understand the spiritual
significance of the death and sacrifice of Jesus
until they were filled with His spirit in Acts 2.
but He had to die!
Therefore, it was hidden from them.
|(24) When they had come to
Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and
said, "Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?"
(25) He said, "Yes."
And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him,
saying, "What do you think, Simon? From
whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their
sons or from strangers?"
(26) Peter said to Him, "From strangers."
Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are
free. (27) Nevertheless, lest we offend them,
go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up
first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece
of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you."
From the Greek "didrachma".
R.V. has "They that received the
Every male Israelite of age, including proselytes and
manumitted Jews, was expected to pay annually for the temple service a
half-shekel, or didrachma, about 35 cents.
This must be paid in the ancient money of Israel, the regular half-shekel
of the treasury; and the money-changers, therefore, were in demand to
change the current into the temple coin, which they did at a rate of
discount fixed by law, between 4 and 5 cents on every half-shekel.
The annual revenue to the money-changers from this source has been
estimated at nearly $45,000 dollars; a very large sum in a country where a
laborer received less than 20 cents for a day's work, and where the good
Samaritan left about 33 cents at the inn for keeping the wounded man. Jesus had attacked a very powerful interest when He
overthrew the tables
in the Temple.
Then the sons are free
He refers here to the general principle observed by sovereigns, who do not
draw taxes from their own children, and immediate family. In other words, "If the sovereign' s own family be exempt, you know the inference in My
case;" or to express it more plainly than Jesus though needful, "This is a tax for upholding My Father's House: as His Son, then, that tax is not due
by Me - I am free."
In order not to offend, or stumble, those ignorant of His relationship to
the Lord of the Temple, and should misconstrue a claim to exemption into
indifference to His honor who dwells in it.
A piece of money
Or a "stater". The coin was an Attic silver coin equal to two of the
didrachmas, or about 70 cents.
It was enough to pay the exact sum required
for both Jesus and Peter.
Excerpts from Farrar
From time immemorial there was a precedent for collecting, at least
occasionally, on the recurrence of every census, a tax of "half a shekel,
after the shekel of the sanctuary," of every Jew who had reached the age
of twenty years, as a "ransom for his soul," unto the Lord (Exodus
This money was devoted to the service of the Temple, and was expended on
the purchase of the sacrifices, scapegoats, red heifers, incense,
showbread, and other expenses of the Temple service.
After the return from the captivity this half-shekel became a voluntary
annual tax of a third of a shekel; but at some subsequent period it had
again returned to its original amount. Every Jew in every part of the
world paid this tax, whether rich or poor; and, as on the first occasion
of its payment, to show that the souls of all-alike are equal to God.
This tax was only so far compulsory that when first demanded, on the 1st
of Adar, the demand was made quietly and civilly; if, however, it had not
been paid by the 25th, then it seems the collectors of the contribution
might take a security for it from the defaulter. This collection was not
made by the collectors from Jesus in this instance until about 6 months
late, probably because He had been so frequently absent from Capernaum.
The fact that the collectors inquired of Peter instead of asking Jesus
Himself is another of the very numerous indications of the awe that He
inspired even into the heart of His bitterest enemies; as in all
probability the fact of the demand being made at all shows a growing
desire to vex His life, and to ignore His dignity. But Peter, with his
usual impetuous readiness, without waiting, as he should have done, to
consult his Master, replied, "Yes!" If he had thought a moment longer - if he
had known a little more - if he had even recalled his own great confession
so recently given - his answer might not have come so glibly.
This money at any rate, in its original significance, a redemption-money
for the soul of each man; and how could the Redeemer, who redeemed all souls by the ransom of His
life, pay this money-ransom for His own? He was to enter the vail of the
Holiest with the ransom of His own blood. But He paid what He did not owe, to save us from that which we owed, but could never pay.
When Peter entered the house, conscious, perhaps, by this time, that his
answer had been premature -perhaps also conscious that at that moment
there were no means of meeting even this small demand upon their scanty
treasury -Jesus, without waiting for any expression of his embarrassment,
at once said to him, "What thinkest thou, Simon? The kings of the earth,
from whom do they take tolls and taxes? From their own sons, or from those
who are not their children?
There is something beautiful and even playful in this gentle way of
showing to the impetuous apostle the dilemma in which his hasty answer had
placed his Lord, , We see in it, as Luther says, the fine, friendly,
loving relationship which must have existed between Jesus and His
He, in whose steps all ought to walk, calmly added, "Nevertheless, lest we
should offend them. ..." In the very act of submission, as Bengel says,
'His majesty gleams forth.' He would pay the contribution to avoid hurting
the feelings of any, and especially because His apostle had promised it in
His behalf: but He could not pay it in an ordinary way, because that would
be to compromise a principle.
In obeying the law of charity, and of self-surrender, He would also obey
the laws of dignity and truth. 'He
pays the tribute, therefore,' says Clarius, 'but taken from a fish's
mouth, that His majesty may be recognized.'
(Life of Christ by Dr. Frederic W. Farrar Copyright: 1949)
Let this same attitude and purpose and (humble) mind be
in you which was in Christ Jesus. - Let Him be your example in humility
- Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God (possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God), did not
think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or
retained; But stripped Himself (of all privileges and rightful dignity) so
as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men
and was born a human being, And after He had appeared in human form He
abased and humbled Himself (still further) "
(Amplified New Testament)
This discourse can be divided into three sections
||Who is Greatest in the Kingdom
||Lesson on Forgiveness
Who is Greatest in the Kingdom
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is
greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of
them, (3) and said, "Assuredly,
I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little
children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
(4) Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child
is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (5)
Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives
(6) "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe
in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were
hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the
|(33) Then He
came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, "What
was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?"
(34) But they kept silent, for on the road they had
disputed among themselves who would be the greatest.
And He sat down, called the twelve,
said to them, "If
anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant
Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them.
And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them,
receives one of these little children in My name receives Me;
and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me."
|(38) Now John answered Him, saying, "Teacher, we saw
someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name,
and we forbade him because he does not follow us."
(39) But Jesus said, "Do not forbid
him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon
afterward speak evil of Me. (40) For he who is not
against us is on our side. (41) For whoever gives
you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to
Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his
|(46) Then a
dispute arose among them as to which of them would be greatest.
And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart,
little child and set him by Him, (48) and said to
them, "Whoever receives this
little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me
receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will
|(49) Now John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone
casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he
does not follow with us."
(50) But Jesus said to him, "Do not
forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side."
The Question - Who is greatest?
The background of this question lay in a dispute among the disciples
as they walked toward Capernaum.
Perhaps it had been kindled by:
|The prominence given to the three on
|The tax incident with Peter
|The discussion about the keys to the
The disciples did not view the kingdom of Christ in any other light than
that of a temporal one.
Hence they wished to know whom He would make His
Prime Minister - whom His General - whom His Chief Chancellor -whom Supreme
Judge, etc. Who is it?
Would it be:
||He who You first called?
||He who is Your nearest relative?
||He who is the oldest?
||He who has most often entertained Thee?
||He who walked on the water with You?
||He to whom You first gave the keys?
||They who saw You transfigured in Your glory?
If any would be first --- be servant of all
||to run errands
As distinguished from other words in the New Testament meaning
||represents the servant in his
||slave, represents him in his
A "diakonos" may be either a slave or a freeman.
The word "deacon" is an almost literal transcription of the original.
is often used in the New Testament to denote ministers of the Gospel.
The servant here does the same work as a slave,
Called a little child
Mark 9:33 says this took place in Capernaum "when they were in the
It is widely agreed that Jesus stayed at Peter's house while in Capernaum.
Could this little child be little "Peter Junior"?
A little boy just like his father that had the habit of speaking up when
he should remain quiet?
A little boy that was running around them and irritating them with his
boyish pranks and constant questions?
If not Peter's son, it was just such a child Jesus called to him, took him
in His arms, and put the child before them as an example to His disciples.
Children had no rights of their own.
Jesus said that those who willingly gave up their "rights" here in this
life would be great in the kingdom of heaven.
The Answer - To be great in the kingdom you must voluntarily:
||Give Up Control
|Be as a Child
||Give Up Your Rights
||Give Up Your Pride
|Be the Least
||Give Up Your Status
If you would be first,
You will be last.
If you are least,
You will be great.
The ordinary upper-stone of the Eastern hand-mill was from 18 inches to 2
feet across, and might easily be hung
around the neck of a person to be drowned.
However, the Greek in both
Matthew and Mark may be rendered "ass-mill-stone," which was a stone
larger than that used in the ordinary mills. It was so large as to require
brute-power to turn it. Such a stone would sink a body in the depths of
the sea beyond the possibility of recovery.
This method of punishment was actually in use by the ancient Syrians,
Romans, Macedonians, and Greeks.
It was inflicted on the worst class of
criminals, especially on parricides (murder parent or close
relative), and those guilty of sacrilege.
||Immature and easily influenced
|If by my example I cause a natural
child to sin and turn against Jesus, I would be better off
to die the death of a criminal rather than to harm the little
||Spiritually immature and easily
|If my example and thoughtless words I
cause a spiritual child to sin and turn against Jesus, the
young believer may turn and loose their soul, and I will be
held liable for that soul.
It would be better to die the death of a criminal rather than
to harm the little (spiritually immature) one.
Do not forbid him
There are some who are so outrageously wedded to their own creed, and
religious system, that they would rather
let sinners perish than suffer those who differ from them to become the
instruments of their salvation.
Even the good that is done they either
deny or suspect, because the person does not "follow them."
Here, we are reminded that we must check our motives.
|Do we sincerely want to be a witness for Jesus -
Or do we want to prove our point and just convince people that we
There is a parallel case to this mentioned in Numbers 11:26-29:
|But two men had remained in the camp: the name of
one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit
rested upon them. Now they were among those listed, but who had not
gone out to the tabernacle; yet they prophesied in the camp.
And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, "Eldad and Medad are
prophesying in the camp."
So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, one of his choice men,
answered and said, "Moses my lord, forbid them!"
Then Moses said to him, "Are you zealous for my sake?
Oh, that all the LORD's people were
prophets and that the LORD would put His
Spirit upon them!" (NKJV)
Jesus could very well have asked John, "Are you zealous for my
|(7) Woe to the world because of offenses! For
offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense
|(8) "If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off
and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life
lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be
cast into the everlasting fire.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from
you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye,
rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.
|(10) "Take heed that you do not despise one of these
little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always
see the face of My Father who is in heaven. (11) For
the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.
(12) "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and
one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and
go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? (13)
And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices
more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go
astray. (14) Even so it is not the will of your
Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should
(15) "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and
tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you,
you have gained your brother. (16) But if he will
not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of
two or three witnesses every word may be established.'
(17) And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the
church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to
you like a heathen and a tax collector.
(18) "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth
will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be
loosed in heaven.
(19) "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth
concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by
My Father in heaven. (20) For where two or three are
gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."
|(43) If your hand causes you to sin, cut it
off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than
having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never
be quenched -- (44) where
'Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.'
(45) And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is
better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet,
to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be
quenched -- (46) where
'Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.'
|(47) And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It
is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye,
rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire --
'Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.'
(49) "For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every
sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. (50) Salt is
good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it?
Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another."
If your hand or foot causes you to sin -
CUT IT OFF
Jesus made the same suggestion in
Matthew 5:29 in the Sermon on the Mount.
The only difference between the words there and here is that:
||There they refer to impure inclinations
||Here they refer to impure ambitions, an irascible or
The injunction is, to strike at the root of such dispositions and cut off the
source of them.
Once again, this goes to motive. For it is from the motives
that actions proceed.
To be cast into hell fire
The word "Gehenna" is the name of
a ravine starting from the northwest of
Jerusalem, which sweeps around the southwest angle of the city, then
meets the Kedron below the Pool of Siloam. This valley is the traditional
site of the fire-worship that began in the reign of Ahaz, and after its
desecration by Josiah, became a common receptacle for the garbage of the
city, and a symbol of the place of future punishment. The city garbage,
where worms gnawed and first burned continually, is a vivid picture of
5 times in this passage it is stated here that the fire in Gehenna never will be quenched
||It is better for you to enter into life
maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire
that shall never be quenched
||Where 'Their worm does not die And the
fire is not quenched.'
||It is better for you to enter life
lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the
fire that shall never be quenched
||Where 'Their worm does not die And the
fire is not quenched.'
||It is better for you to enter the
kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast
into hell fire where 'Their worm does not die And the fire is not
Their worm does not die
The word "worm" is used of man several times:
||And a son of man, who is a worm?"
||But I am a worm, and no man
||Fear not, you worm Jacob
||And they shall go forth and look Upon the corpses
of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm
does not die, and their fire is not quenched.
It is the living, conscious, ever dying part of the human being that will
feel eternal torments.
It is that part that feels and knows, the inner man
that dwells in the resurrected body, both of which will be cast into hell
at the judgment (Matthew 10:28; Revelation 20:11-15).
|Even as eternal life
is living forever,
|so is eternal death a dying forever.
Seasoned with salt
Every sacrifice was offered with salt as a symbol of preservation
Mark 9:49, taken in its context, reaches back to the
unquenchable fire of Gehenna, and forward to the
self-discipline of verse
must be salted somehow, either with the unquenchable fire of Gehenna
with the severe fire of self-discipline.
Have salt in yourselves
From Matthew Henry:
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern
Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson
||It was appointed by the law of Moses,
that every sacrifice should be salted with salt, not to preserve it
(for it was to be immediately consumed), but because it was the food
of God's table, and no flesh is eaten without salt; it was therefore
particularly required in the meat-offerings. (Lev 2:13)
||The nature of man, being corrupt, and
as such being called flesh (Gen 6:3; Ps 78:39) ... must be
salted, in order to its being a sacrifice to God.
||Our chief concern is to present
ourselves living sacrifices to the grace of God (Rom 12:1),
and, in order to our acceptableness, we must be salted
with salt, our corrupt affections must be subdued and
mortified, and we must have in our souls a savior of grace.
Thus the offering up or sacrificing of the Gentiles is said to be
acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, as the
sacrifices were salted
||Those that have the salt of grace must
make it appear that they have it; that they have salt in
themselves, a living principle of grace in their hearts,
which works out all corrupt dispositions, and every thing in
the soul that tends to putrefaction, and would offend our God,
or our own consciences, as unsavory meat does. Our
speech must be always with grace seasoned with this salt, that
no corrupt communication may proceed out of our mouth, but we
may loathe it as much as we would to put putrid meat into our
||As this gracious salt will keep our own
consciences void of offence, so it will keep our conversation
with others so, that we may not offend any of Christ's little
ones, but may be at peace one with another.
||We must not only have this salt of
grace, but we must always retain the relish and savior of it;
for if this salt lose its saltiness, if a Christian revolt
from his Christianity, if he loses the savior of it, and
be no longer under the power and influence of it, what can
recover him, or wherewith will ye season him?
This was said Matt 5:13.
Have peace with one another
Referring back to the sins of verses 34-50 that destroy unity and peace among
||Sinful Lusts of the Body
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus told His disciples that they are the salt of the
So here we find that if the salt has lost its saltiness (the
"saltiness of self-discipline and humility"), peace and unity are
That which was lost
"Lost" is Apoloolos.
In Rev 9:11, Satan is called Apolluoon - the destroyer,
or him who lays waste.
This name bears a near relation to that state in which our Lord tells us
he finds all mankind-lost, desolated, ruined. So it appears that Satan and
men have the nearest affinity to each other:
|Satan - Apolluoon
||Man - Apoloolos
But the Son of man came to save the lost. Glorious news! May every
lost soul feel it!
||For the Son of Man has come to save
that which was lost
||For the Son of Man did not come to
destroy men's lives but to save them.
||...for the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save that which was lost
||... I did not come to judge the world
but to save the world
|1 Timothy 1:15
||This is a faithful saying and worthy of
all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save
||Therefore He is also able to save to
the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always
lives to make intercession for them
||Therefore lay aside all filthiness and
overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted
word, which is able to save your souls
If your brother sins against you
After the rebuke - so gentle and captivating, yet so dignified and Divine
- under which they would doubtless be smarting, perhaps each would be
saying, "It was not I that began it, it was not I that threw out unworthy
and irritating insinuations against my brethren." Be it so, says the Lord;
but as such things will often arise, I will direct you how to proceed:
But this is all to be done in tenderness and humility.
|Don't harbor a grudge against your offending
nor break forth upon him in presence of the unbelieving,
but take him aside,
show him his fault,
and if he own and make reparation for it,
you have done more service to him than even justice to
|If this fail,
take two or three to witness how just your complaint is,
and how brotherly you spirit in dealing with him.
|If this fails,
bring him before the Church or congregation to which both
|If even this fail,
regard him as no longer a brother Christian,
but as one "without" -
as the Jews did the Gentiles and publicans.
Whatever you shall bind - whatever you shall loose
It is plain by what occurs in numberless places dispersed throughout the
Mishnah, and from thence commonly used by the later rabbins when they
treat of ritual subjects that
||signified, and was commonly
understood by the Jews at that time to be "a declaration that any
thing was unlawful to be done;"
||signified "a declaration that any thing
may be lawfully done."
Jesus spoke to His disciples in a language
that they understood, so that they were not in the least at a loss to
comprehend His meaning.
We have an example of this in Acts 15 when Barnabas and Saul went up to
Jerusalem to find out from the apostles whether the Law should bind the
Gentiles, or loosed from it.
If two of you agree
This is "symphonesosin," literally, symphonize, or
It is a
metaphor taken from a number of musical instruments set to the same key,
and playing the same tune.
Here, it means a perfect agreement of the
hearts, desires, wishes, and voices, of two or more persons praying to
It also intimates that as a number of musical instruments, skillfully
played, in a good concert, are pleasing to the ears of men, so a number of
persons united together in warm, earnest, cordial prayer, is highly
pleasing in the sight and ears of the Lord.
I am there in the midst of them
None but God could say these words, to say them with truth, because God
alone is everywhere present, and these words refer to His Omnipresence. Notice, also, that Jesus spoke these words in the
first person and in the present tense.
The Importance of Attitudes and Motives
||The Two Divided
||Division, Turmoil, Ruin, Separation
||The Two Together
||Harmony, Power, Satisfaction, Unity
Lesson on Forgiveness
|(21) Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often
shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven
(22) Jesus said to him, "I do not
say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
(23) Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain
king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. (24)
And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him
who owed him ten thousand talents. (25) But as he
was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with
his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be
made. (26) The servant therefore fell down before
him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you
all.' (27) Then the master of that servant was moved
with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
(28) "But that servant went out and found one of his
fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid
hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what
you owe!' (29) So his fellow servant fell down at
his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I
will pay you all.' (30) And he would not, but went
and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.
(31) So when his fellow servants saw what had been done,
they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that
had been done. (32) Then his master, after he had
called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all
that debt because you begged me. (33) Should you not
also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had
pity on you?' (34) And his master was angry, and
delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was
due to him.
(35) "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of
you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his
Up to seven times?
It was a maxim among the Jews never to forgive more than 3 times.
Peter enlarged this charity by more than double.
He thought he was being quite generous to his brother.
Seventy times seven
There is something very remarkable in these words, specially if collated
with Genesis 4:24, where the very same words are used - "If any man kill Lamech, he shall be avenged seventy times seven."
Sinful man, who is
exposed to the stroke of Divine justice, should be
forgiveness, especially as only the merciful shall find mercy.
The sum "seventy times seven" makes 490.
Now an "offence," or sin, properly taken, is that which is given wantonly, maliciously, and without any provocation.
And these offences come all from the same person.
But forgiveness continues.
He means that there is to be no limit. "Forgiveness is
qualitative, not quantitative."
Forgiveness is one of the most widely misunderstood doctrines of
It is not to be confused with human forgiveness that merely remits a
penalty or charge.
Divine forgiveness is one of the most complicated and costly
undertakings, demanding complete satisfaction to meet the demands of
God's outraged holiness.
In the Old Testament
|"The priest shall make atonement for them, and they
shall be forgiven" (Lev 4:20).
However, sacrifices had only a
typical significance and served as a covering (Heb. kapar, "to
cover, to aid," Deut 21:8; Gen 50:17; etc.) from sin until the
appointed time when God should deal finally with sin through the
death of Christ.
For the Unsaved
|Forgiveness under this consideration is never an
isolated operation but is always connected as an integral part of
the whole divine undertaking for man called "salvation."
Forgiveness is only one of the many transformations wrought by God
in the unsaved in response to simple faith in Christ.
Thus forgiveness of sin is not equivalent to salvation.
It is merely negative.
All else in the comprehensive term salvation is gloriously added
(John 10:28; Rom 5:17).
For the Believer Who Sins
|The great foundational truth respecting the
believer in relationship to his sins is the fact that his salvation
comprehends the forgiveness of all his trespasses past,
present, and future so far as condemnation is concerned (Rom
8:1; Col 2:13; John 3:18; 5:24).
Since Christ has vicariously borne all sin and since the believer's
standing in Christ is complete,
he is perfected forever in Christ.
When a believer sins, he is subject to chastisement from the
Father but never to condemnation with the world (1 Cor 11:31-32).
By confession the Christian is forgiven and restored to fellowship
(1 John 1:9).
It needs to be remembered that were it not for Christ's finished
work on the cross and His present intercession in heaven, the least
sin would result in the sinner's banishment from God's presence and
But mixed with this must be remembered the words of the Lord: "Go,
and sin no more."
Sin unto Death
|Persistent or scandalous sin in the believer in face of
divine grace and his perfect standing in Christ may eventuate in a sin
resulting in physical death.
"If anyone sees his brother committing a sin
not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those
who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do
not say that he should make request for this" (1 John 5:16; cf. 1 Cor
Both John 15:2 and 1 Cor 11:30 point out that God reserves the
right to cut off the physical life of a believer who has ceased to be a
worthy witness in the world.
The Unpardonable Sin
|A person who attributes to Satan the
power of the Holy Spirit, so visibly and openly manifested,
when that person knows the power is of the Holy Spirit, is guilty of
this peculiar sin.
For this reason there could be no forgiveness in the
age then present or in the age to come (Matt 12:22-32; Mark 3:22-30).
Forgiveness as an Obligation Among Men
(from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody
Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)
|The believer is
exhorted to be kind to believers and unbelievers,
forgiving to one another "as God in Christ also has forgiven you" (Eph
The basis of the plea for such forgiveness is that one has been
himself so graciously forgiven.
Ten thousand talents
talent in gold is about $29,085.00.
10,000 Talents would be
$290,850,000.00 (two hundred ninety million, eight hundred fifty thousand
Commanded him to be sold - and his wife and children
An ancient custom among the Hebrews - selling a man and his family to make
payment of contracted debts.
A hundred denarii
One denarii = 17 cents.
100 denarii = $17.00.
Took him by the throat
Creditors often dragged their debtors before the judge, as the Roman law
allowed them to do, holding them by
Livy relates how, a difficulty having arisen between the
consul Valerius and one Menenius, the tribunes put an end to the contest, and the consul ordered into prison (twisted the neck) the few who
And Cicero: "Lead him to the judgment-seat with twisted neck."
The "tormentors" are the jailers, who were allowed to scourge and torture
the poor debtors in their care in order
to get money from them for the creditors, or else to excite the compassion
of friends, and obtain the amount of the debt from them.
Trench says "In early times of Rome there were certain legal tortures, in
the shape, at least, of a chain weighing fifteen pounds, and a pittance of
food barely sufficient to sustain life, which the creditor was allowed to
apply to the debtor for the purpose of bringing him to terms; and no doubt
they often did not stop here."
This parable illustrates the necessity of forgiveness and godly treatment
of fellow Christians in the kingdom of heaven, and may be divided into 4
|The King and his Servant
||The Great Debt: $290,850,000.00
||The Impossibility of Payment
||The Judgment Pronounced
||Mercy Asked - Promise Given
||The King's Compassion
||Cancellation of the Debt
|The Servant and his Fellow servant
||The New Freedom
||The Small debt: $17.00
||Possibility of Payment
||The judgment Pronounced
||No Mercy Shown
|The Kink and his Servants
||The Knowledge of the Fellow servants
||The Compassion of the Fellow servants
||The Report of the Fellow servants
||The Reproof for Cruelty
||The King's Wrath
||The Judgment Pronounced
||God cancels all the debt for penitent sinners
as this king did for his servant
||God demands fair treatment between believers
||God will not forgive us unless we forgive
Next Section (Lesson 16 Continued)