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Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 18:21-22 – Forgive 77 Times!

|| Luke 17:4

MT18:21 Then Peter approached Jesus and asked, “Master, how many times must my brother sin against me[1] and I must still forgive him? As many as seven times?”[2] MT18:22 Jesus answered Peter, “I tell you, not as many as seven times, but as much as seventy times seven.”[3]

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[1] How many times must my brother sin against me: We may assume the previous discussion has moved Peter to ask this. It is very likely that much of this discussion was prompted by the original issue of who was the greatest. This debate no doubt involved Peter judging from Matthew 16:18, 19 and possibly there was some criticism of him. We can only speculate on Judas’ attitude regarding all of this.

[2] Seven times: Or, PME: would seven times be enough? The Jewish rabbis taught that it was enough to forgive three times, so surely Peter thought he was being very generous.

[3] Seventy times seven: See Genesis 4:24. Or, NJB: seventy-seven times. That is a total of 490 sins! In other words, our Lord taught there is no end or limit to forgiveness against one’s person (see notes on Matthew 6:12). Luke 17:4 has Jesus adding, “Even if he sins seven times a day against you and he comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” There is a need to say, “I am sorry.”

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

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