15th July 2013

Surprise, Surprise 

“At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, ‘Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?’ Jesus replied, ‘Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.’”
atthew 18:21-22 (MSG) 

I have a confession. I’m a sucker for quiz shows. Whether it is ‘The Chase’, ‘Mastermind’ or ‘Eggheads’, I enjoy pitting my wits against ‘some of the greatest quiz brains in Britain’.  Here’s a quiz for those of us with slightly smaller quiz brains:
a.  What was King George VI’s first name?
b.  The Canary Islands in the Atlantic are named after what animal?
c.  In what month do the Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
d.  How long did the 100 years war last? And
e.  Where are Chinese gooseberries from?     

Not too difficult was it? Or was it?  Here are the answers:
a.  Albert
b.  Dog
c.  November
d.  116 years
e.  New Zealand 

Well what a surprise, at least to me.  But not as great a surprise as Peter got when he asked Jesus how many times he was to forgive someone who had wronged him.  Peter thought he was being exceedingly generous with his offer to forgive seven times. After all he knew that the Rabbis taught that a man must be willing to forgive his brother three times. 

But Jesus said, how about you forgive 490 times?  Now that doesn’t mean on the 491st time you don’t forgive someone who has wronged you. The intent behind Jesus’ comment is that forgiveness knows no limits. It cannot be measured by a number—it  has to be expressed each and every time a wrong is committed. 

Now that’s a surprise. And what’s more, it’s easier said then done.  How could Jesus expect us to extend unlimited forgiveness? The answer lies in Jesus’ own willingness to forgive us time and again. Every time we do something wrong we receive mercy, forgiveness and grace from the loving hands of our Saviour. Similarly because we have been forgiven a “tremendous debt “, (Matthew 18:32 NLT) shouldn’t we have mercy on those who have wronged us? (v 33)   

Why not surprise someone today by extending Christ’s love and offering forgiveness where it’s needed?  

Father, please create in me a forgiving heart and help me to see who I need to forgive yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Study by Barry Robinson


barryrobinsonAbout the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder in and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God London
Indian YMCA Student Hostel
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square

Meeting time:
Saturday 2:30pm
Local Congregational Contact:
Martin Ryan
Phone:  020 8202 3998
Email:   martin_ryan@wcg.org.uk

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