May 8 2022

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Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

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“The Church: Forgiving and Giving”

The Fourth Sunday of Easter

Bulletin: May 8, 2022

Newsletter: May 8, 2022

Scriptures: Genesis 3:1-10; Psalm 25; John 21:15-19



Joel Russell-MacLean

“Say you are sorry.”

“And say what are you sorry for.”

“Now you say, ‘I forgive you.’”

Many parents go through this ritual, some frequently, with their children when they wrong someone else.

When Jesus met Peter a few weeks after rising from the dead, and asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” – we know Jesus and Peter were revisiting Peter’s denial of Jesus three times during Jesus’ trial and execution. 

We know this is a story about forgiveness but it is interesting what is missing. Forgiveness is never named. Peter never says, “I’m sorry,” nor does Jesus say, “I forgive you.” What Peter did wrong is never made explicit. As well, since Jesus was wronged by Peter, you might think that the focus would be on Peter learning that Jesus still loved him. 

Instead, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” 

Instead of a forensic or legal approach of dealing with sin and wrongs, Jesus personalizes forgiveness. The dilemma is the love between one person and another, flesh to flesh. 

John is also personalizing the commissioning of the church. Instead of a crowd being told, “Go and make disciples…,” (as in Matthew’s gospel) Jesus commissions and equips Peter to go and to forgive and to give, and through Peter, he commissions all of us as well. 


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