This Sunday we will hear of the parable of the unforgiving servant… or maybe as we should call it: the parable of the gracious King. One thing that often is confusing is the ancient weights and measures that were used and what a denarii or a talent were. So out of curiosity, and to put some things into perspective, this is what the servant owed his master:
1 talent = 6000 denarii (6000 days wage)
1 denarii (during the reigns of Caesar Augustus and Tiberius Caesar) had 3.65g of silver (there was additional weight due to debasement). Thus 1 talent would have 21.9 kg of silver. So let’s do the math:
x 21.9 kg of silver / talent
x 2.2 kg / lb
x 14.58333 troy oz / lb
x $42.235 silver / troy oz as of this very moment
So what kind of debt are we talking? Almost $300 million dollars. Add on top of that the fact that we get paid rather handsomely in contrast to the average worker in the time of Christ, and this number is even more astronomical… and here’s the kicker. In contrast to what was owed the master, as impossible as it was for the servant to pay off his master, the debt we have incurred because of our sin is infinitely greater.
So as we look to this parable, as shocking as it was that the servant would not forgive his neighbor, even more shocking is it that he had such a gracious King.
For further listening, Issues Etc. with Pastor William Cwirla on Forgiveness: