January 27th When a brother sins against you
15: Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16: But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17: And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto: but if he neglects to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. 18: Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19: Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
21: Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? 22: Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven. 23: Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24: And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25: But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26: The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27: Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28: But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29: And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30: And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31: So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32: Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34: And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35: So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
Christ here gives very clear and thoughtful instructions to the disciples as to how to sort out difficulties that arise between brethren. The three stages are simple and wise and they apply equally to the Disciples of the Lord and to the Church today. Peter then raises the question of how often he is to forgive his brother when he offends him. Most people would say once, twice or three times and Peter suggests seven times, but the Lord comes back with 70 x 7. Seventy being the span of a mans life and seven being the number of completion. Maybe Christ is referring to total forgiveness. However, 70 x 7 is also the number of years in a whole era for Israel. 70 x 7 = 490. There were 490 years from The Promise to the Tabernacle. 490 years from the Tabernacle to the Temple. 490 years from the Temple to The deportation and the Times of the Gentiles is 490 years. Maybe Christ had this number in mind because the Kingdom would dawn at the end of the 490 years of The Times of the Gentiles. Was Christ saying to Peter you must forgive this year and next year and right on into the Kingdom? Christ then follows with a parable which shows the importance of forgiveness and how that the God of Israel will hold me responsible to forgive and on the basis of a forgiving heart they will be forgiven. This is not how Christ deals in Grace to the NT believers of the Church. They forgive, not to be forgiven but because they are forgiven.
- Describe the three stages of dealing with a brother who has offended you. Why is it important to follow these steps – even today?
- What is the significance of the 70 x 7 that Christ proposes?
- How should we forgive in the light of our forgiveness?