THE WEEK OF TRINITY XXII – WEDNESDAY
LESSON: HEBREWS 9:11‒14
“Out of pity for him, the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.” Matthew 18:27
The lord has pity on this servant in his wretched condition. The servant is securely caught and entangled in his sins and foolish enough to suppose that he can help himself out of his hopeless plight. He does not look for mercy. He knows nothing about grace. He feels nothing but his sins which oppress him sorely. There is no one to whom he can turn for help. Even while he is in this wretched plight, the lord turned to him in pity and released him.
In this action of the lord, there is portrayed to us what the Gospel in its nature really is, and how God deals with us. If you are entangled in your sins and are afraid that you can find no help to rescue you from your sad plight, the Gospel comes to you and says, “No, not so, my dear friend, it does not help you to martyr yourself to the point of distraction and to become alarmed. It is not your works but God’s mercy alone which moves Him to have pity on you in your wretched situation. He sees that you are in the grip of fear, that you are throttling yourself in the mire of your sins, that you cannot extricate yourself from your plight. He can see that you cannot pay your debt. In pity and mercy, He forgives you your whole debt. Therefore, it is a case of pure mercy. He forgives you your debt, not because of your works or any merits. He has pity on your cries, entreaties, and the requests you have made on your knees.”
This means that God regards a humble heart, as David declares, “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17). A heart that is broken, he says, and contrite, that cannot help itself and is quite content to have God reach out a helping hand to it, is the most acceptable sacrifice before God and the right way to heaven.
PRAYER: Eternal praise and thanks be Yours, heavenly Father, for Your mercy and grace and the rescue from all sins available to us in Your Gospel of salvation, as revealed to us in and through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.