The Unforgiving Servant.

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Title:The Unforgiving Servant
Notes:JESUS MAFA is a response to the New Testament readings from the Lectionary by a Christian community in Cameroon, Africa. Each of the readings was selected and adapted to dramatic interpretation by the community members. Photographs of their interpretations were made, and these were then transcribed to paintings.

In this dramatic depiction of the parable of the unforgiving servant, the viewer is thrust into the middle of the narrative. In the background, we see an unforgiving servant demanding from another a debt he is owed. The forgiving lord is being told of the vengeful nature of one of the servants upon whom he had mercy. The faces of the messenger and lord display shock and anger at the forgiven servant’s lack of compassion. Undoubtedly, the viewer is inspired to feel similar levels of indignation. From this parable and painting, we should be reminded that a merciful heart is one that mirrors God’s.


Scripture:Matthew 18:21-35
Lectionary links:AProp19
General Subject:Culture: African
Culture: Black
Library of Congress Subject:Christian art and symbolism -- Cameroon

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Copyright Permission:For non-commercial uses, include with the image the Attribution statement below. Variations of the statement are fine as long as the elements in the Attribution statement are included. For other uses contact Éditions de l’Emmanuel,
Attribution:JESUS MAFA. The Unforgiving Servant, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved June 18, 2024]. Original source: (contact page:
Record Number:48396 Last Updated: 2022-04-18 19:27:04 Record Created: 2006-12-22 00:00:00
Institution:Vanderbilt University Collection: Art in the Christian Tradition