Matthew 18:28 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 18:28, NIV: "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded."

Matthew 18:28, ESV: "But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’"

Matthew 18:28, KJV: "But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest."

Matthew 18:28, NASB: "'But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.'"

Matthew 18:28, NLT: "'But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment."

Matthew 18:28, CSB: ""That servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, 'Pay what you owe!'"

What does Matthew 18:28 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Those engaged in Jesus' parable have likely breathed a sigh of relief. He depicted a servant who owed the king an impossible amount of money. The king was going to exercise his right to sell the man and the man's family into slavery as a payment on that debt. The servant begged for time to pay the debt off, something he clearly could never do since it was such a large amount. Then, finally, the king graciously forgave the man for the entire amount of the debt with no need to ever pay it back (Matthew 18:23–27).

The man was free. It was a story with a happy ending. For those with ears to hear (Mark 4:9), this part of the story gives perspective to humanity's relationship with a forgiving God. Through faith in Christ, God forgives a debt for our sin that we could never hope to repay. That debt is so severe it's remarkable God allowed us to fall so far in the first place. We deserve eternal fire, and God gives us instead an eternal place in His own family through faith in Christ (Romans 5:8; John 1:12; 3:16–18).

This story is not over, though. Jesus continues, following the man out from the presence of the king and into a confrontation with another servant. This fellow servant owes the man 100 denarii. This is not a tiny sum; a denarius was about a days' wages. Still, it was an irrelevant fraction of a fraction of a percent of what the king had just forgiven this man. All the same, the man angrily demands payment, grabbing the other servant and even choking him.