September 12, 2020 ~ 100 - 1

Readings for Sunday, September 13, 2020

Exodus 14:19-31; Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35

100 to 1:

Matthew 18:21-35 narrates Jesus’ parable of the unmerciful servant, in a large debt owed by a servant is forgiven, but that same servant will not forgive a smaller debt owed to him. One point to note is this parable is the vast difference in the two debts. Just the numbers alone, quite apart from the coinage, emphasizes this as it is a ratio of 100 to 1.

In the parable, the servant owes the master ten thousand talents. A talent was roughly the equivalent of 15 years’ worth of wages for a typical laborer, meaning that the servant owes about 150,000 years of labor. In stark contrast, the second servant owes one hundred denarii. A denarius was worth about one day’s wage for a typical laborer, meaning that the second servant owes about one hundred days of labor.

Ten thousand talents would have a value of millions of dollars today. A hundred denarii would be worth only a relatively few dollars in today’s currency. Such exaggeration is found in many of Jesus’ parables. He told these little stories in this manner to drive home his point.


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