Ephesians 4:32, ESV

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.


Luke 10:25-28, NIrV

25 One day an authority on the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to receive eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you understand it?”

27 He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength and with all your mind.’ (Deuteronomy 6:5) And, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ ” (Leviticus 19:18)

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do that, and you will live.”


An expert in God’s laws asked Jesus a question: “How can I have eternal life?” What is eternal life, you ask? It’s living forever in God’s kingdom. Jesus answered that question by asking a question of his own: “What does God’s law say about it?” The Law Expert was ready with his answer: “Obey the two great commandments. Love God and love people.” And his answer was correct! Jesus told him, “If you do this, you’ll have eternal life.” However, Jesus was about to teach this man a lesson. While he was an expert in knowing God’s laws, this man was nowhere near an expert at actually obeying them!

+ What does “eternal” mean?

+ Did Jesus say the Law Expert’s answer was right or wrong? (vs. 28)


Luke 10:29-35, NIrV

29 But the man wanted to make himself look good. So he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Robbers attacked him. They stripped off his clothes and beat him. Then they went away, leaving him almost dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down that same road. When he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 A Levite also came by. When he saw the man, he passed by on the other side too. 33 But a Samaritan came to the place where the man was. When he saw the man, he felt sorry for him. 34 He went to him, poured olive oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey. He brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins. He gave them to the owner of the inn. ‘Take care of him,’ he said. ‘When I return, I will pay you back for any extra expense you may have.’


The Law Expert wanted to know, “Who is my neighbor?” To answer that, Jesus told him a parable, a lesson-teaching story. One day, robbers attached a traveler and left him to die by the side of the road. A priest and a Levite, workers at God’s temple, came by him. These men knew God’s command to love their neighbor, but they didn’t stop to help. A third man bandaged up the traveler's wounds and paid for him to stay at an inn until he got better. Here’s the shocking part of Jesus’ story – this helpful man was a Samaritan. Most Israelite people, like the Law Expert, hated the guts of Samaritans!

+ Why did the Law Expert ask Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” (vs. 29)

+ Who was a “good neighbor” in Jesus’ story: the priest, Levite, or Samaritan? (vs. 33)


Luke 10:36-37, NIrV

36 “Which of the three do you think was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by robbers?”

37 The authority on the law replied, “The one who felt sorry for him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do as he did.”


The Law Expert asked Jesus a question: “Who is my neighbor?” Why? He wanted to justify himself (to make himself look good). Jesus told the man a story that showed he was asking the wrong question. Instead of asking “Who is (and isn’t) my neighbor?”, a better question was, “How can I be a good neighbor?” The hero of Jesus’ parable was a Samaritan. Israelites (like the Law Expert) hated Samaritans! They didn’t think these “scumbags” counted as neighbors. Jesus’ parable showed the Law Expert he wasn’t worthy of forever life. He’d broken God’s command to love neighbors like Samaritans.

+ How did the Law Expert feel about people like the Samaritans?

+ What did Jesus tell the Law Expert to do? (vs. 37)


Matthew 18:21-27, NIRV

21 Peter came to Jesus. He asked, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but 77 times.

23 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to collect all the money his servants owed him. 24 As the king began to do it, a man who owed him 10,000 bags of gold was brought to him. 25 The man was not able to pay. So his master gave an order. The man, his wife, his children, and all he owned had to be sold to pay back what he owed.

26 “Then the servant fell on his knees in front of him. ‘Give me time,’ he begged. ‘I’ll pay everything back.’ 27 His master felt sorry for him. He forgave him what he owed and let him go.


Jesus’ disciple Peter had a question for him: “How many times must I forgive someone?” Jesus’ answer? 77 times. In his language, this meant “so many times that you lose count.” To explain his answer, Jesus told another parable story. A servant owed his king so much money, it would take hundreds of lifetimes to pay it back. To get the money he was owed, the king gave an order: “Sell this man’s entire family as slaves!” The servant begged, “Please! Give me more time!” Amazingly, though the king knew the servant could never, ever pay him back, he forgave the man and let him go free.

+ When Jesus said we should forgive 77 times, what did he mean? (vs. 22)

+ How much money did the servant owe the king in Jesus’ parable? (vs. 24)


Matthew 18:28-35, NIRV

28 “But then that servant went out and found one of the other servants who owed him 100 silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he said.

29 “The other servant fell on his knees. ‘Give me time,’ he begged him. ‘I’ll pay it back.’

30 “But the first servant refused. Instead, he went and had the man thrown into prison. The man would be held there until he could pay back what he owed. 31 The other servants saw what had happened and were very angry. They went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the first servant in. ‘You evil servant,’ he said. ‘I forgave all that you owed me because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on the other servant just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers. He would be punished until he paid back everything he owed.

35 “This is how my Father in heaven will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”


Jesus’ parable was a two-parter. In the first half, a king forgave a servant who owed him a lifetime’s amount of money. But when somebody owed that same servant a little bit of cash, the servant tossed him into prison until he could pay it back. This servant had been forgiven the mountain of money he owed the king, but refused to forgive his friend who owed him a tiny pile of coins! When this news reached the king, he was furious! He tossed his unforgiving servant in prison and threw away the key! Jesus told Peter, “If you don’t forgive each other, God will do the exact same thing to you!”

+ Who owed more money: the first servant or the other servant? (vs. 24 and 28)

+ Why was the king so angry with the first servant? (vs. 32-33)


Ephesians 4:31-5:2, NIRV

31 Get rid of all hard feelings, anger and rage. Stop all fighting and lying. Don’t have anything to do with any kind of hatred. 32 Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive one another, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done. 


1 You are the children that God dearly loves. So follow his example. 2 Lead a life of love, just as Christ did. He loved us. He gave himself up for us. He was a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God.


During his days on earth, Jesus often used parables to teach his disciples and the crowds of people who gathered to hear him. Jesus told dozens of these stories to explain about the kingdom of God, his Father. In the two parables we’ve read this week, Jesus corrected men who were thinking incorrect thoughts about how God wanted them to live.

First, Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan to an expert on God’s Law. Both Jesus and this man agreed: if you love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself, you’ll receive eternal life. But the Law Expert was incorrect about something very important: he didn’t think Samaritan scumbags counted as his neighbor!

Jesus made a Samaritan, someone the Law Expert would have hated, the hero of his parable. Jesus’ Samaritan story revealed a sad truth about the Law Expert: though he was an expert in God’s laws, he was not an expert at following God’s laws. He refused to love his Samaritan neighbors! And by breaking this second great commandment, the Law Expert had not earned eternal life.

Next, Jesus told the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant to Peter, one of his twelve disciples. This story was designed to answer a question: “How many times should I forgive another person?” Jesus told a tale of a king who forgave a servant the mountain of money he owed him. This parable was a picture of the tremendously good thing God has done for us. 

Just like the king forgave the servant the huge amount of money he owed, God has forgiven us. What for? For the huge amount of times we’ve broken his commands! Sadly, we are often like the servant in Jesus’ story. As he refused to forgive his own servant, there are times we refuse to forgive others when they hurt us. The king in Jesus’ parable was angry when he heard about his unforgiving servant. I think you can guess how God feels when forgiven sinners like you and me won’t forgive others!

These two parables weren’t just for Peter and the Law Expert; they have something to teach us, too! Have we been as loving as the good Samaritan? Nope! And have we been as unforgiving as the forgiven servant was? You betcha!

Today’s verses from Ephesians show us that Jesus was the opposite of you and me.  Like the good Samaritan, Jesus loved his neighbors (you, me, and everyone else) perfectly. In fact, he loved us so much, he “gave himself up” (died) to pay for our sins. And he has asked his Father, God, to forgive us. We haven’t obeyed God enough to earn eternal life with God, but Jesus has. And he offers forever life to us as a free gift! If God can forgive sinners like us, we should certainly forgive anyone who sins against us.

+ When we need to forgive others, what should we remember? (vs. 4:32)

+ What did Christ Jesus do because he loved us? (vs. 5:2)

© 2023 Andrew Doane. All rights reserved.