September 4 - Nº 247 Matthew 17:22 – 18:35; Mark 9:30-50; Luke 9:43-50
Several times Jesus had explained to his 12 disciples that he would soon be put to death. He also told them that on the third day he would rise again from the dead. However, they were never able to fully comprehend what he meant. In addition, Jesus taught them the important characteristics that should define them as his followers. He often repeated the need for them to be humble. Again, they were slow to comprehend. One time the disciples came to Jesus wanting to know which one of them would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus called a little child over. He took the child in his arms and said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will not even enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever welcomes a little child in my name, welcomes me.” This probably shocked the disciples because children had few rights and little value in their society. Jesus went on to say, “If anyone causes one of these children who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large grinding stone tied around his neck.” Jesus also focused on the importance of forgiveness and reconciling their differences. This raised a question in Peter’s mind, “Lord, how many times do I need to forgive someone who sins against me? Is seven times enough? (Peter was being very generous, since this was four more times than the rabbis taught.) Jesus answered, “No, not seven times. You need to forgive him 70 times seven!” Then Jesus told Peter this parable: “A king decided to settle the accounts of his servants who owed him money. One of them owed him over a million dollars. The king knew there was no way the man could ever pay it back. So, he ordered his accountant to sell the man, his wife, their children, and everything they owned and apply the money to the debt. The man fell on his knees before the king and pleaded, ‘Please be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ The king felt sorry for his servant. He told the accountant to cancel the debt and let him go. “A few days later, the same servant found a friend who owed him just a few dollars. He grabbed him and started to choke him. ‘Give me what you owe me!’ he demanded. His friend fell on his knees and begged, ‘Please be patient with me, and I’ll pay back everything I owe.’ But the servant refused and had his friend thrown into prison. “When the king found this out, he was shocked and angry. He ordered the servant he had forgiven to be brought before him. ‘You are wicked,’ he said. ‘I forgave your debt of more than a million dollars because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you show the same mercy to your fellow servant who owes you so little?’ Then he threw the man in prison.” Jesus informed Peter, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat you unless you are willing to forgive others from your heart!”
Is there someone in your life who “owes” you big-time? Realizing what God has done for you, do you need to forgive them “from your heart?” Not just with your mouth? If this is difficult, talk to God about it. He doesn’t want you to be tied down by the debt someone else owes you. He will help you come to a place of freedom.