To demonstrate the immensity of this debt, it should be understood that the total tax revenue of King Herod for this province for an entire year has been estimated at 540,500,000 in today’s market. In other words, this man’s debt was more than eleven times the yearly income of the provincial king. Yet, in the story, he was forgiven in full by the reigning monarch.
By Robert E. Henson
Matthew 5:7 says,
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
In this verse, Jesus articulates a divine principle. It was in force in the Old Testament, but it was not verbalized until the New Testament.
According to the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ, the road to mercy is paved with mercy. The only guarantee of mercy for any person is to be merciful with others.
The Importance of Forgiveness
Matthew 6:12 says,
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
It is very significant that Jesus included a petition for forgiveness and an application of forgiveness in the model prayer that He prescribed. It is remarkable that the only part of the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus commented on after the presentation was this portion having to do with forgiveness and mercy.
These arresting words are supplemental to the illustrative prayer taught by Jesus in Matthew 6:14-15:
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
The startling truth that Jesus declared is that our receiving mercy is absolutely dependent upon our granting forgiveness.
Now let us consider a command of Christ with regard to mercy and judgment.
Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV) warns:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
It is essential to understand that these statements were made to persons who had no authority or responsibility to judge others. It is a fact that some persons have been placed in positions where they have a God-given or God-supported responsibility to exercise judgment over others. This would include those vested with church authority or those in positions of civil authority.