This Sunday we look at forgiveness, 10am kick-off. The Bible says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb 9:22b) which alerts us to its cost in terms of sacrifice – but also its importance. In Matthew 18, Peter was prepared to go to 7 times (cf. Luke 17:4). But in response Jesus said not 49 times which would be seven times seven, which is what I used to think he said. If you read this again you will see Jesus said 77 times – which is even more. What did the Lord mean and what was he emphasizing? And why 77 times?
How many times have we been forgiven by the Lord? Are we already forgiven everything we will ever do? Where is the place then for confession of sin? I think you will see that the whole area of forgiveness is worth thinking into quite a lot. There is a saying, “To err is human, but to forgive is divine’. That’s not a Biblical reference. It comes from an essay on criticism by Alexander Pope. But Jesus did forgive sins and demonstrated that He had the authority to do so. He forgave a sinful woman and forgave the sins of a paralysed man who was lowered through the roof. But ultimately Jesus went to the Cross as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, grief and shame. Also, he forgave those who crucified him. We too are to forgive. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you.” (Eph 4:32)