Christ’s parable of the unforgiving servant is partly a plea for patience and forgiveness on the part of Christians. But it is chiefly a challenge to sincere prayer rather than self-seeking prayer as the only way to reconciliation with God.
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king which would take account of his servants.
And our subject this evening is ‘valid or invalid prayer’ and we shall be looking at this particular parable beginning from verse 23. It is a lesson in prayer and it’s a lesson particularly about prayer for salvation. That’s not the actual context – the context is that the disciple Peter (future apostle Peter) had a query, and it was ‘how many times do we forgive a brother for some offense against us?’ How many times? And the answer of the Lord was ‘endless times’, in effect, and then he told this parable. So it speaks to that subject. It does exhort Christian believers to have a patient, forgiving spirit, but it isn’t the only purpose of the parable. It’s far too elaborate a parable to answer only that question or illustrate only that matter.
And its content is quite clearly intended more widely as a lesson in prayer. And that’s how we’ll look at it this evening – a lesson particularly in prayer for the forgiveness of God, for the new life which God gives to those who seek it from him. That’s the subject we’ll be looking at. And it begins here without introduction: ‘therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king which would take account of his servants.’ Now I have to warn you that there’s a certain amount to understand in the text here which isn’t immediately apparent to the casual reader.