The Scripture lessons for September 17th were Genesis 50:15-21; Romans 14:1-12 and Matthew 18:21-35. Pastor Krause began with the Gospel lesson where Peter asked Jesus about how many times he should forgive someone who sinned against him. Pastor Krause has us imagine someone repeatedly sinning against us, and about the thoughts and feelings we might experience as someone committed sins against us.
Pastor Krause reminded us of how Peter, thinking himself generous, suggested forgiving as much as seven times. Jesus, however, intensifies that number suggesting instead seventy-seven times. In reality Jesus was saying there ought not be an end to our forgiving, for any relationship is only going to be as strong as there is forgiveness in it.
Jesus then goes on to tell the parable of the “Unforgiving Servant” who after being forgiven a debt that would have taken him 10,000 years to pay (10,000 talents with a talent = a year’s wage), went out and had a fellow servant thrown into prison for owing him the equivalent of around one hundred days labor (100 denarii with a denarii = a day’s wage).
We owed God a huge debt, an astronomical debt, which Jesus paid once for all (Heb 9:12; Heb 9:28; Heb 10:10). Knowing that God is forgiving and that the penalty for our sins has already been paid through the innocent, sacrificial suffering and death of Jesus (1 Jn 2:2), we are often tempted to make light of our sin (Ro 6:1-2), but we need to remember that our redemption did not come cheaply. It COST!!! It cost Jesus dearly. It cost Jesus not only the physical suffering of being mocked, beaten and a tortures’ death on the cross, it cost Him the experience of suffering all the torments of hell itself (Mt 27:45-46).
If God so loved us as despicable as we are in order that we might be redeemed and forgiven, certainly we ought to love our fellow sinners for whom Jesus also suffered and died. St Paul writes:
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Pastor Krause then jumped to the Old Testament lesson in Genesis 50 where he cited Joseph as an example of forgiveness. He asked us to put ourselves in Joseph’s shoes as he was horribly mistreated by his brothers, yet, Joseph also experienced the presence and power of God and with God’s presence and in God’s power he forgave his brothers. May it so be with us as well. Forgiveness COUNTS! (Mt 6:12,14,15)
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Amen, so be it!
(My thought, now what about yours?)
(All passages are taken from the NIV unless otherwise noted)
Chime in with your thoughts and questions in the comment section!