January 22, 2021

Forgive Others as You Wish to Be Forgiven

Matthew 17–19

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The Transfiguration

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone...

The Transfiguration

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son,1 with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” 10 And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 11 He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. 12 But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon

14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon,2 and it3 came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.4 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”5

Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection

22 As they were gathering6 in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.

The Temple Tax

24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” 26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel.7 Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

Who Is the Greatest?

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,8 it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Temptations to Sin

“Woe to the world for temptations to sin!9 For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell10 of fire.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.11 12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my12 Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

If Your Brother Sins Against You

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed13 in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.14 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.15 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant16 fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii,17 and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until 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 master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers,18 until 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.”

Teaching About Divorce

Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”19

10 The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

Let the Children Come to Me

13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.

The Rich Young Man

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world,20 when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold21 and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.


[1] 17:5 Or my Son, my (or the) Beloved
[2] 17:18 Greek it
[3] 17:18 Greek the demon
[4] 17:18 Greek from that hour
[5] 17:20 Some manuscripts insert verse 21: But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting
[6] 17:22 Some manuscripts remained
[7] 17:27 Greek stater, a silver coin worth four drachmas or approximately one shekel
[8] 18:6 Greek causes . . . to stumble; also verses 8, 9
[9] 18:7 Greek stumbling blocks
[10] 18:9 Greek Gehenna
[11] 18:10 Some manuscripts add verse 11: For the Son of Man came to save the lost
[12] 18:14 Some manuscripts your
[13] 18:18 Or shall have been bound . . . shall have been loosed
[14] 18:23 Or bondservants; also verses 28, 31
[15] 18:24 A talent was a monetary unit worth about twenty years’ wages for a laborer
[16] 18:26 Or bondservant; also verses 27, 28, 29, 32, 33
[17] 18:28 A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer
[18] 18:34 Greek torturers
[19] 19:9 Some manuscripts add and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery; other manuscripts except for sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery
[20] 19:28 Greek in the regeneration
[21] 19:29 Some manuscripts manifold

Forgive Others as You Wish to Be Forgiven

Key Verse | Matthew 18:21-22

Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times."

Bio | Leigh Anne Sullivan

Good morning, fellow Journeyers! My name is Leigh Anne; and I am wife to Jared, mom to Caroline and Cartwright, dog mom to Ky and Barkley, dietitian, OU football fanatic, community group member, and re|engage facilitator. More important than any of those, I am a FORGIVEN daughter of Christ. As much as my pride does not want to hear it, I have made many mistakes in these roles. I am thankful for a God who has forgiven me and does not demand repayment for my debts. Fun Fact: today we celebrate our son's birthday. Happy Birthday, Cartwright!

Central Truth

We all are living imperfect lives; consequently, we all are in need of forgiveness. God has forgiven our immense debt. Who are we to withhold forgiveness from one another for our much smaller debts?

Devotional | Matthew 17–19

In the parable of the unforgiving servant, Jesus teaches about a servant who was pardoned of an enormous debt. He then goes on to demand repayment from a fellow servant who owes him a small debt. Jesus taught His...

In the parable of the unforgiving servant, Jesus teaches about a servant who was pardoned of an enormous debt. He then goes on to demand repayment from a fellow servant who owes him a small debt. Jesus taught His disciples that we are called to forgive because we have been forgiven.

Jared and I got married 12 years ago. He was a prodigal son and had married me, a non-believer. We let the world around us inform our lives, our decisions, and our marriage. We were completely broken and desperate when we walked into re|engage in 2014.  Re|engage leadership shepherded us faithfully. I learned that God had sent His Son to die for my sins so that I would no longer have to be separated from Him. This changed my life. God shows us grace and calls us to show our brothers and sisters that same grace. He allowed me to see that I was not being forgiving toward my husband, and holding onto offenses that I thought were against me, much like the servant in the parable. Before Christ, I saw forgiveness incorrectly in three ways:

  1. As a weakness.
  2. As condoning the offense.
  3. As a feeling.

God's truth has clarified my understanding that forgiveness is:

  1. A sign of strength and trust in the Lord's good plan.
  2. No longer demanding repayment.
  3. A decision to pardon an offense despite how I feel. The truth is, I never FEEL like forgiving.

Through obedience in forgiveness, the Lord has brought complete redemption to our marriage. We currently serve as facilitators in re|engage. We often see spouses who will accept God's forgiveness and not extend forgiveness to their spouse. This is exactly what Jesus speaks about in this parable. I challenge you to remember that we have been forgiven and God expects us to extend that same grace and forgiveness. We can pray for the Lord to search our heart and reveal ways that we have not truly forgiven others. We should forgive as we have been forgiven.

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Discussion Questions

1. Do you understand the grace that God has extended you? If not, do you know that all you need to do is to accept that gift? Please REACH OUT if you would like to find out more about God's love for you.

2. If you know that Jesus died for your sins, are you extending the same forgiveness to others that God has extended to you?

3. Have you experienced what a gift it can be to yourself to extend forgiveness to others?

4. What is holding you back from extending forgiveness? We have a spiritual recovery ministry at Watermark called re:generation that can help if you are tired, broken, or hurting.

6 Comments available

Sue Bohlin about 14 hours ago

Thanks, Leigh Anne, and bless you for serving in re|engage. I bet you see a LOT of “unforgiving forgivens”! May the Lord open every eye to the inequity in that!

I love the story of Jesus sending Peter the Professional Fisherman to cast a line into the sea and pull out a fish with a coin in its mouth. I’m quite sure that had never happened before . . . or since! It tells me that regardless of our experience or especially expertise, we need to expect Jesus to bring surprise into any and every area of our lives–just to keep things interesting!

Michael Scaman about 16 hours ago

Jesus touched them. On the mount of transfiguration when they heard the voice of the Father tell them to “listen to Him” they fell down afraid Jesus didn’t just speak words to Peter, James and John but went and touched them.

Matthew 17:5-8

Caleb Park about 16 hours ago


Yes it seems to my point of view that forgiveness is hard as I can only recollect the hardship of a relationship rather than the good times. Through the grace of the lord, I know all of my sins were forgiven because God has sacrificed his son, Jesus Christ for our sins.

I am learning to look away from the past and for the better future.

Jeremiah 29:11

Greg Jones about 19 hours ago

Life is like a box of chocolates-or fishing with Peter when Jesus is guiding-you never know what you’re going to get. Forrest was fictional his story helps us look at factual times, thus ourselves, and what could be. Jesus is factual, Matthew’s narrative helps his readers look at themselves and what could be in their time.

Matthew17:1-13-Different Jewish perspective-Jesus as a son.

VV14-21-A son possessed-little faith.

VV22,23-Prediction,tied to grief, tying to back to little faith.

VV24-27-Exempt status not taken.

18th chapter break in a narrative describing who should provide and who should receive benefits in new/changed kingdom.

18:1-5-Different perspective on greatest.

VV15-35-Same kingdom narrative, dealing with and picturing the causes and needs of VV6-14.

Like Forrest Gump it shows them/us who we generally are not but can aspire to be.

Hope Harris about 20 hours ago

GM JTJ Peeps,

Spending some time pondering Matthew 18:10-14 I will share this not from the Voice translation: “The wisdom of the world says the shepherd should forget that one missing sheep and chalk it up as a loss. In God’s economy, each soul has its own value apart from all others. Jesus calls the people of His kingdom to help the weak and the friendless, the small and the frail, the mute and the poor, the ugly and the disfigured.”

Every person matters to God. If I am honest I struggle to find value in those I don’t agree with or label as a jerk. I constantly have to keep my heart in check in this area. The truth is Jesus did for them too and who am I not to find value in them.


Hugh Stephenson about 21 hours ago

GM Leigh Anne. Great devo on forgiveness. Thanks for sharing your story.

The servant would owe about $6 billion today, (ESV SB). The servant would be owed about $12,000.

I’m staring at those two numbers.

My sin against God versus someone else’s sin against me.

The debt paid for me versus the debt owed to me, (https://www.navigators.org/resource/the-bridge-to-life)

Recently Amy, (Proverbs 31), and I were talking, and I made some comments about a prior wrong done to me. She looked at me and asked me if I still had resentments against that person. Instantly, I was convicted.

Resentments are like cancer in me. If I cut almost all of it out but leave just a little bit in…it grows back and spreads, (Matthew 12:45).

God makes ridiculous promises to me; abundance, joy, rest and other fruit beyond imagination, (John 10:10, John 15:10-11, Matthew 11:28-30, Galatians 5:22-23).

And forgiveness.

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