September 12, 2011

Three Themes of Forgiveness in Matthew 18:21-22



IN MATTHEW 18:21-22

Flax plant stems waiting to be turned into linen threads.

      The pastor of the Stahlstown United Methodist Church Charge, the Rev. Audrey Bell, presented the message at the annual outdoor service at the Flax Scutching Festival (Stahlstown, Pennsylvania) on September 11, 2011. She presented a message on forgiveness based on Peter’s question to Jesus about forgiving seven times.

      At the end of the service, she rang the bell four times, once each for the 8:46, 9:03, 9:37, and 10:03 events that occurred ten years ago on September 11, 2001.


     In Peter’s day forgiveness was a three-times matter for the devout.  

Peter came up to the Lord and asked, “How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?

Jesus answered: Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times.  (Matthew 18:21-22, Contemporary English Version)

     Jesus presented a new playing field, with numbers too large to keep score: seventy-seven, or in some Biblical versions, seventy times seven, or four hundred-ninety, according to the Rev. Audrey Bell, who said that this Scripture has three different themes.

     First, forgiveness is always (more…)

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