What Jesus Did! 'Heaven's Seven' — Matthew 18:21-22

Saturday, August 28, 2021

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Then Peter came to [Jesus] and asked, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?"

"No, not seven times," Jesus replied, "but seventy times seven!"

— Matthew 18:21-22 NLT

Key Thought

Like so many of us do, Peter wants to know the limits of the Lord's demand for radical forgiveness. While by human standards Peter's "seven times" principle is quite generous, to even ask for a limit to forgiveness in Jesus' Kingdom is to reveal that a person's mind is still dominated by worldly thinking. Heavenly thinking means going to a cross and forgiving your crucifixion executioners!

Jesus takes the heavenly number of seven and multiplies it by a number that is much greater, not to give an actual numerical limit but to stress that we are to forgive as we have been forgiven and want to be forgiven. In the Father's Kingdom family, the children must forgive like the Father!

Today's Prayer

Lord God, soften my heart and give me a more forgiving spirit. I don't want to be miserly with grace or vindictive in judgment with those who need my forgiveness. You have so graciously blessed me in Jesus; I want to reflect that grace in my relationship with others. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 6:12-15
  • Luke 17:1-4
  • Ephesians 4:32


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Illustration of Matthew 18:21-22 NLT — Then Peter came to [Jesus] and asked, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?"

"No, not seven times," Jesus replied, "but seventy times seven!"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.