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Church talk: Forgiveness has a name

Friday 24 March 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features

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Church talk: Forgiveness has a name
Jesus commands Peter to forgive seventy-seven times, meaning to “always forgive”, with seven referring to a Name, a Perfect Name. Gospelimages/23032306

Only forgiveness can set our enemies free and bring healing to our tortured hearts, setting us free from our own prison of pain, writes Pastor Paul Kauri of the ArePua Church.

I want to share something the Lord showed me in my morning devotions this week.

I opened my Bible on Tuesday morning, and my reading was at Luke 4, the portion of scripture that has the akapapaanga o Iesu. To be frank I wanted to skip over it but felt convicted for my slack attitude toward God’s Word, so I proceeded to read.

As usual, many names I didn’t recognise while many others I did recognise from other parts of the Bible. I was intrigued again, and in awe, of how they were able to track the genealogy of Jesus – through Joseph’s line all the way back to Adam, the son of God, that’s impressive.

In Matthew’s gospel they trace Jesus’ genealogy through Mary’s line, that too, was impressive! For these two reasons I was impressed;

  1. The fact that they could trace his genealogy from both Mary and Joseph’s line is incredible!
  2. And secondly its impressive when you see who God included in the genealogy of Jesus. There is Rahab the prostitute from the city Jericho, who had faith in God. There was Ruth who is not a Jew but was devoted to her mother-in-law, who was. And there was Bathsheba who David had an adulterous affair with, including David himself!

The Bible holds nothing back, the good, the bad, the everything …  anyway, back to Luke 4.

As I said, I was reading all the names of Jesus genealogy, and for the first time in reading Luke 4, I decided to count the number of generations from Jesus all the way back to God.

There were 77 generations. “77” I thought, now where have I heard that number before in the Bible?

In Matthew chapter 18, Peter asks Jesus the question, 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

I never could understand what Seventy times seven meant, until a few days ago. I knew the search for the answer was not in mathematics (70 X 7 = 490) that would mean that after 490 times it was no longer necessary to forgive the person, so that didn’t add up. If God treated me with mathematical forgiveness I would have been toast a long time ago! (I dare say, all of us would be toast too ... if we were honest enough)

Noticing the 77 in Jesus’ genealogy, along with this conversation in Matt 18, I decided to dig deeper to see what these two numbers meant.

The Greek word for Seventy means “countless times” so in this context of Matthew 18 it means that we always forgive, countlessly! This is what God has done for us through Jesus. In 1 John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

This verse is structured as a constant tense, meaning, God is always faithful to forgive our sins every time we confess to Him (even well after 490 times), and He is just, for justice has been paid for our sins through Jesus Blood on the cross.     Amen.

So, Jesus was born precisely as the 77th generation, the perfect lamb of God who purifies us from all unrighteousness. It gives weight to His authority to say to people, “your sins are forgiven!” and in some instances, the healing people needed, came through their sins being forgiven, and He was the only one who could say it that at the time.

He’s the only one who could pay the price for our sins to be forgiven when we ask for mercy. He was proven by Pilot to be innocent, or as the law of Moses required, “a lamb without spot or blemish”. He was found to be the perfect sacrifice, and such was His perfection that a guilty man was set free at His trial, 77.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. The Greek word for ‘seven’ in Matt 18 is described as a noun, meaning it’s a name. We also know that 7 is the number of Perfection.

Now He commands Peter to forgive seventy-seven times, meaning to ‘always forgive’, with seven referring to a Name, a Perfect Name.

So, you see, from the life of Jesus and his genealogy, the scriptures reveal that ‘Forgiveness has a Name, and that Name is Jesus!’ (Mic drop moment)

But in closing, here’s something worth considering:

As I mentioned earlier some people were healed, when their sins were forgiven. Matthew 18 also reveals that when we don’t forgive others their wrongs toward us, we are the ones who will suffer and be tortured, like the unforgiving servant who was tortured along with his family. This too is another truth Jesus was conveying to the listeners; one person’s unforgiveness results in the torture of resentment, bitterness, hatred, anger and in many cases illness for the unforgiving person. However, these traits will also torture your wife and your children, and generations to come, until forgiveness is given.

Only forgiveness can set our enemies free and bring healing to our tortured hearts, setting us free from our own prison of pain, as it is written, “Know the Truth, and Truth will set you free”.

Jesus declared, “I am the Truth!” so Truth has a Name too! So, while truth as a principle is good, Truth as the Person (of Jesus) is Greater! (Drop another mic!)

He is Worthy of all Praise!