The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents;[a] 25 and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii;** and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; 33 and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers,[c] till he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”**
I am currently in a dialogue with a former Catholic, now evangelical, who threw this verse at me as proof against Purgatory. Just to point out I do realize he has been mislead by his current pastor into believing that the Catholic church taught him that Purgatory is a place we go after death, to pay for our sins and work our way into heaven. I will get their with him but am trying a baby step approach of making a logical case for Purgatory first.
Anyway onto my question. He interpreted this as Jesus teaching about God’s infinite forgiveness. Not that I disagree that God has infinite mercy but isn’t Jesus teaching us about human participation in forgiving others in order to be worthy of God’s forgiveness? I can understand why he wouldn’t want to see this, because forgiving someone else would be considered a work. Also, can we pull his interpretation out of the parable as well? I find it sometimes works better to agree with the persons interpretation as not being wrong, but want to be able to kindly and lovingly show him the main point of Jesus’ parable. Any suggestions?
I think he only sees this passage in this direction because he states his bible says one talent is equal to $5,760,000.00 in today’s currency. Therefore, 10,000 talents is an immeasurable debt that he could never pay. From my calculations based on John 6 and Revelations 6, I found a talent to average anywhere from $420.00 to $12,840 so he seems a little high. Does anyone know if I’m a little closer to the current value of a talent? I want to be able to point this out to him because the immeasurable debt is the only reasoning he has behind his interpretation of this verse.
Either way the verse 24 is what really caught my eye: “And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt.” Didn’t he actually throw a verse at me that alludes towards Purgatory? Because it sure sounds a lot like Jesus words in Matthew 5:26 - truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny. In my mind if Jesus was referring to Hell wouldn’t he have said "because you could never pay the last penny"? Also, why Jail? Why didn’t the King put him to death? Wouldn’t that be more synonymous to Hell? Also, just the fact that Jesus says there is a debt to be paid doesn’t this automatically exclude Hell sins it is impossible to get out of Hell?
Sorry for all the questions. He just got me revved up and I need you guys to focus me before I get back in touch with him.