If the debt doesn’t kill you… then the weight of expectations just might. Here’s what Jesus has to say about such a death.


mercy and the spirit-crushing weight of debt
Proper 19A  | Matthew 18:21-35

Too Heavy

So now this morning, we start with Peter’s response to this teaching. Remember, the teaching was very specific in methodology. It was very prescriptive. So Peter’s trying to get this all balanced and together in his head, so he asks how many times he’s supposed to forgive. Seven, maybe?

Remembering, of course, that Jesus just gave them a pattern of giving people a few chances before naming them outsiders. Seven seems like a high number here, since it sounded like 3 or 4 to the reader.

So pay attention to what Jesus says in response: 77.

If you’ve ever tried to make peace with someone, you know 7 is already a lot. But take a second to think about what 77 means for your brain.

If I asked you to do something multiple times, like stand up, walk to the kitchen for a glass of water, come back and sit down. Then get up and do it again. And again and again. Where would you lose track of how many times you did this? Seven times, maybe?

Seventy-seven or 7 times 70 may as well be 7000. It’s so far beyond what we can remember or keep track of. Jesus may as well have said forever.

The full text and audio may be downloaded above or here.