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Background Considerations

  • Old Testament God and Jesus – what are the differences? the similarities?
  • The vocabulary of grace in the life of Jesus
    • Jesus’ love – agapao – altruistic care for others
    • Jesus’ love – phileo – strong friendship and love
    • Jesus’ compassion – splangchnizomai – compassion which comes from the gut, viscerally
  • The attitude of Jesus toward people in general – how would you describe Jesus’ basic attitude toward others? What words would you use?

Relevant Biblical Passages

  • John 8:1-11 – [textual history of this passage intriguing – the story does not show up in the earliest manuscripts, but sounds so much like how Jesus would behave as to be included later] The story of the woman caught in the act of adultery – elements of mischief and misconduct (entrapment?) on the part of religious leaders, embarrassment on the part of the woman, exposure of the story behind the story on the part of Jesus, expansion of forgiveness (in the face of the regulations to the contrary), and expression of expectations following forgiveness.
  • Mark 2:1-11 – Story of the paralytic brought to Jesus and dropped through the roof – questions of healing and forgiveness, and who can forgive (only God?). Why the connection between ill health and sin needing forgiveness? What part of their world would it be helpful to know about (the connection between sin and illness was close, based on the theology of Deuteronomy)?
  • Luke 5:1-11 – Story of the miraculous catch of fish and the calling of Peter – elements of hubris (pride, arrogance and self-sufficiency), confession and empowerment.
  • John 21:1-17 – Another story about a miraculous catch of fish and Peter’s confession – elements of profound sadness following the death of Jesus; extreme joy at the sight of the resurrected Jesus on the shore; pointed conversation about love, confession, forgiveness and response:
    1. Jesus: Do you love (agapao) me more than these?
      Peter: Yes, you know that I love (phileo) you.
      Jesus: Feed my lambs.
    2. Jesus: Simon, son of John, do you love (agapao) me?
      Peter: Yes, Lord, you know that I love (phileo) you.
      Jesus: Tend my sheep.
    3. Jesus: Simon, son of John, do you love (phileo) me?
      Peter: Lord, you know everything; you know that I love (phileo) you.
      Jesus: Feed my sheep.
  • Luke 23:32-38 – Account of Jesus’ crucifixion and forgiveness of those responsible.

Contributions to the Study of Forgiveness

  • Divine attitudes toward people and their attitudes/actions.

Lessons for Life

  • How should we go about accepting forgiveness? Extending forgiveness?

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