And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
This is what should have rightfully happened to the servant. This was the just thing to do. When a debt is incurred, every attempt is made to ensure it is repaid. Something is owed, and it must be restored to its rightful owner. But how large this man’s debt had grown. It was out of control. And what an oppressive, overwhelming feeling it is to have that hanging over him. He was about to lose everything he had, including his family and his own freedom, so payment could be made. But his debt had become so large as to be unpayable. He would never be able to work enough or long enough to ever pay it off. He could spend his whole life trying and still come up short.
This is what our sin debt is like. It is something that keeps accumulating more and more, and we owe a payment on it. But it quickly gets to a point where it is an overwhelming amount that we would never be able to pay. And that’s why we need God’s mercy. Because we can never work enough to pay it off ourselves. We could never do anything to make it go away. So we need God to forgive us of the whole thing and set us free from the bondage of it. We need to trust in His ability and authority to release us from it.
In this story, forgiving the debt is the master’s doing. And in our case, forgiveness has to come from God. There is nothing we can do but ask for His mercy. It may seem like just a desperate last resort to avoid a horrible punishment, but in the end, it is something that God wants to do for us. He delights to forgive us and set us free and give us new life with a clean slate and fresh start. He enables us to truly have a second chance.
In the story Jesus tells, the lord of this servant loses out on the deal. He was owed this huge sum of ten thousand talents, but he was willing to make that sacrifice for the benefit of his servant. In the same way, God paid the price of our sin Himself. He suffered. He gave His Son as the ultimate sacrifice so that we could benefit from that. That is why we should not take for granted God’s forgiveness and mercy and return to our wicked ways. But may God’s unlimited grace toward us cause us to then be merciful and gracious to others.