"Peter approached Jesus and asked him, 'Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?'"
These people in Jesus' day were really big on numbers. Numbers were so symbolic for them and they attached numbers to everything it seems. From the Ten Commandments to the number of times a leper must be dipped for healing (seven), numbers were a big part of their ritual lives. So, Peter wants a number and Jesus gives him a number. I often wonder why Jesus just didn't respond, "Every time." But Jesus understands the people and their need for numbers and responds, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times." (v.22) Basically, while still giving Peter the number he desired, Jesus was telling him "Every time." We certainly don't want a number attached to the times we are forgiven, so we should never put a limit on the number of times we forgive. We can't say to our neighbor, "Oh, that was the seventy-eighth time you stepped on my toe, I am done with you! My forgiveness has expired!" Certainly not. Jesus went out of his way to demonstrate to the people his Father's forgiveness and told us to emulate that. And, no matter how hard we try, we couldn't put a number on that! Love, heidi