Week 80 | Section 92
In today’s lesson the Gospel writers graciously allow us to hear one voice, that of Matthew. On the heals of Jesus previous instruction concerning causing others to sin, comes his teaching that hones in our our attitude and behavior as Christians. It’s likely that Jesus’ lesson is steeped from the cauldron of the disciples’ debate which was still stirring discord over the question, of “who should be the greatest?” or who was to blame for such a foolish squabble.1
Section 92 | Treatment and Forgiveness of a Sinning Brother
15 “If your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother. 16 But if he doesn’t listen, take one or two more with you, that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly. If he refuses to hear the assembly also, let him be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector. 18 Most certainly I tell you, whatever things you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever things you release on earth will have been released in heaven. 19 Again, assuredly I tell you, that if two of you will agree on earth concerning anything that they will ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the middle of them.” 21 Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I don’t tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven.2
23 Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants. 24 When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But because he couldn’t pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all!’ 27 The lord of that servant, being 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 one hundred denarii, and he grabbed 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 repay you!’ 30 He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry, and came and told their lord all that was done. 32 Then his lord called him in, and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me. 33 Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?’ 34 His lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if you don’t each forgive your brother from your hearts for his misdeeds.”
Small Group Dialog:
- How are the two parts of today’s reading connected?
- What is the promise that Jesus makes about our agreement in prayer in the context of sin, offense, and reconciliation?
- How would you outline the steps of reconciliation?
- Reflect together on how the “Prayer of St. Francis” might apply to this passage.
- Have a dialog about confrontation, contrition, conformity, and the resulting confidence in the grace of God.
discipline, prayer, forgiveness,
- Our prayer today is found in the Collect 5th for the Sunday of Lent
- CR Luke 17:3-4, Colossians 3:13, 2 Ths 3:15, James 5:19-20, Gal 6:1, 1Cor 6:6-8, 8:12, Prov 25:9-10.