A million, a billion, a trillion, a quadrillion, quintillion, sextillion, septillion, octillion, nonillion, centillion—lots of names for big numbers. I thought the name of the largest number was “google,” but I just learned that there is a new name for the largest number. It is “googolplexian.”
These names are based on English. Do you know the name of the largest number in Greek? The Greek word is murioi and is translated in the New King James as “myriad.” In the King James Version, it is translated as ten thousand. We talk millions, zillions, centillions and googles, but when the Greeks referred to a number that was so large it expressed an innumerable, they used the word murioi. It is used in the plural only three times in the New Testament.
What does this have to do with us? Jesus used this word in one of His parables. It was in the parable of the unjust servant, who having been forgiven of a great debt he owed his master, then refused to forgive the extremely small debt another owed to him (Matt. 18:21-35). We may have read this parable so quickly that we have overlooked a vital point.
Look carefully at the text. “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants…One was brought to him who…was not able to pay…The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.”
Obviously, the application of the parable is that we who have been forgiven by our Master must forgive those who do wrong to us. Now look at this more carefully. How much has our Master forgiven us? How many talents (dollars) were due our Master? The answer is we, like the servant, owed our Master a murioi. This is the largest number in the Greek language. How much did we owe God? We owed Him a googolplexian dollars!
Look again at the parable. We could never repay God what we owed Him, but He was moved with compassion. It is not because we deserved forgiveness for even one sin, and certainly not for a googolplexian sins! Forgiveness comes, not from our self-worth but from His compassion. This is what the kingdom of heaven is like. This is what the church is like. God takes unworthy people and totally forgives them and adds them to the church.
So, as you sing about His grace, as you pray for more grace, and as you communion with Him around His table of grace, never forget that God has forgiven your debt that is so innumerable the Greeks would describe it as a murioi. He has forgiven you a debt that totals a googolplexian.