Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Seventy-Seven Times = Unlimited

Matthew 18:21-22

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amSunday – our sermon was on forgiveness – as part of the Apostles’ Creed sermon series. We talked about how hard it is to forgive. We talked about how our forgiveness is tied to how we forgive others. So – here’s a question for us. How many times have we forgiven someone for the same thing? Do we have a limit to our forgiveness? Does this saying work for us – fool me once – shame on you – shame me twice – shame on me? How many times will we forgive someone?

Peter asked Jesus – how many times should we forgive someone? Seven was a number often used in the Bible to represent completeness – and Peter would have been OK – I think – if Jesus had said seven times. I imagine Peter had come close to that number on several occasions with people he dealt with on a daily basis. Have we come close to forgiving someone seven times? Would that be considered a lot of times?

Jesus’ answer might have blown Peter away. In the NIV – the translation of the answer from Jesus is seventy-seven (77) times. In KJV – it is interpreted to read – Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (490 times)

So – depending on your translation – and there might be other translations that have a different number from the Greek – we are to forgive someone – according to Jesus – from 77 to 490 times. In other words – and this is my take on the use of 7’s – we are to forgive completely – endlessly!

Sunday we preached on forgiveness. We mentioned forgiveness in marriage. We mentioned forgiveness in all of our relationships. Let me pose the question to us this way – how many times do we expect Jesus to forgive us? Have we sins that we have committed time and again? Are there times we might even get tired of asking for forgiveness – because we have sinned so much? Yet – Christ is ever there to forgive the contrite heart. His forgiveness is endless – so to speak – when we confess and repent – sincerely – of our sins.

Matthew 6:14–15 – 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

I believe we should learn and grow in our ability to forgive. I hope to see you on Sunday. We have two messages left in the Apostles’ Creed series. Services are at 8:30 & 11:0 am on Sundays. Try not to miss a Sunday.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

October 15, 2019 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , ,

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