Serving Jesus in Our Community

Bible Notes

Matthew:18:21-22 (04.03.22)

Matthew 18:21-22 (NIVUK)
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’
22 Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Peter thinks he is being generous in his forgiveness, apparently forgiving someone three times was considered the appropriate level of forgiveness at the time. You think three times is being forgiving but look, I’m forgiving seven times! (Don’t forget that to Jesus readers, seven was a significant number, expressing perfection or completeness, hence its repeated use in Revelation to point towards God.) Jesus, however, takes Peter’s generous level of forgiveness and ups it significantly, don’t forgive seven times, forgive seventy-seven times! Forgive and forgive and forgive and never stop… An interesting contrast was pointed out to me this week. Was Jesus deliberately echoing and turning upside down Genesis 4:23-24 and the obscure story of Lamech?

Genesis 4:23-24 (NIVUK)
23 Lamech said to his wives,
‘Adah and Zillah, listen to me;
wives of Lamech, hear my words.
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for injuring me.
24 If Cain is avenged seven times,
then Lamech seventy-seven times.’

Father, may our ‘boast’ not be in our vengeance, but our forgiveness. May we strive to be extravagant in grace, not so that we might look good, but that we might in some limited way reflect your abundant, overflowing, grace.

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