Devotion: Use this resource at home to guide your household’s daily devotions. You can do this alone, as a couple, as a family; in the morning, during the day, or at night. Find a routine that works best for you.
Pray: Light a candle and open your devotion time with a prayer.
God of abundant mercy, you taught your children to forgive, and then to forgive again. Remind us to offer grace and forgiveness to all people for any offense, for the glory of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Reflect: Reflect on the key verses from Sunday’s reading.
[Jesus said,] “Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:19-22
Study: Study the reading and consider the background.
Jesus often used parables to teach people about God and God’s kingdom. In today’s parable, Jesus taught that forgiving others makes sense in light of the abundant forgiveness God has extended to us. Jesus suggested that unity is more important than being right. His suggestion to forgive 77 times was not to limit forgiveness to a specified number of times, but to suggest that we forgive an unlimited number of times.
Read: Read the following daily readings to deepen your understanding of Sunday’s text. After the reading, ask the follow-up questions.
Follow the parables and teachings of Jesus, as Jesus challenged followers to do more for God’s kingdom.
Sunday, Matthew 18:15-35, Forgiveness
Monday, Psalm 32:1-2, Psalm
Tuesday, Matthew 13:24-43, Parables of Jesus
Wednesday, Matthew 13:44-58, Parables of Jesus
Thursday, Matthew 14:1-12, Death of John the Baptist
Friday, Matthew 14:34-15:20, Teachings of Jesus
Saturday, Matthew 15:21-39, Teachings and Miracles of Jesus
What is the kingdom of heaven like? How might Jesus’ parables be told using images from today?
Connect: Connect in conversation with others in your household. Discuss the following questions, or simply check in with “Highs” and “Lows.”
- What was a high point of your day? What was a low point?
- In our litigating society, how does culture view justice? How does it view forgiveness? What might happen if people practiced forgiveness over blame and the need for restitution?
- Who stands in need of your forgiveness? What would it take to make you ready to forgive?
Do: By acting on what we learn, we make God’s word come alive. Do the following activity this week.
Follow a court case that is spotlighted in the media. Identify places where Jesus’ words for forgiveness might break in. How would extravagant forgiveness alter the outcome of the trial?
Bless: Close your devotion with a blessing.
Gracious and loving God, soften our hearts as we hear your word today. Give us the will and the power to be forgiving. Amen.
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Scripture quotation from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Councilof the Churches Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Blessing written by Pr. Chip Borgstadt.