Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Seventieth Sin

By Mary Vee
Matthew 18, Luke 17


View from the top of Masada
down at where the Romans camped.
Photo by Mary Vee, Masada, Israel
My name is Peter, I am a disciple of Jesus.

Jesus ended a time of teaching for the other disciples and me a moment ago. He'd taught what we should do if we have a disagreement with someone.

I couldn't help but wonder what he meant by forgive the person. Say I went to a person the first time he offended me and explained how I was offended, and if he then apologized, Jesus said I should forgive him. But what if the person commited the offense a second time. A third time. Or more?

So I asked Jesus, "Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

Jesus said, "No, not just seven times, but seventy times seven.

"If your brother offends or sins against you, do as I have already said. Go to him in private. Talk about what happened. If he apologizes again, forgive him."

Even if it happened on the same day?

Jesus said, "If he offends or sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I am sorry, please forgive me,' then you should forgive him.

"Let me explain it this way to help you understand. The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since the man was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt."

This is the custom that we observed. So far Jesus' story made sense to me.

Jesus continued, "The servant fell on his knees before his master and begged. 'Be patient with me and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt, and let the man go free."

I thought this was very kind of the man. Not many masters would do that.

Jesus then said, "But when the servant left his master's house, he searched for one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed the fellow servant and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.

Wait a minute. This did not seem fair. 

Jesus said, "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'

"But the man refused. Instead, he had the man thrown into debtor's prison until he could repay the money. 

"It so happened that some other servants saw what the man did. His cruelty upset them sorely. They went to the master and reported everything that had happened.

"The master called for the man. In anger, he said, 'You wicked servant, I canceled all your debt because you begged me to do so. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' So the master called for the guards to take the man to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay back all he owed."

Jesus said, "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

I hadn't realized the truth in forgiving someone so many times until he told me the story. While it may be difficult to forgive a person for what they do against me, I certainly don't want to anger my heavenly father. I will work to forgive every time.

 Come back to read the next story.

*Author of blog's note: If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. I will see them and will answer as best I can or direct you to a source.


*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

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