Who Is the Greatest?
1At that time#18:1 Lit hour#Mk 9:33-37; Lk 9:46-48 the disciples#Mt 9:10; Mk 10:10; Lk 6:1; Jn 6:3; Ac 6:1 came to Jesus and asked, “So who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” #Mt 22:24; Jn 3:35; 13:20 2He called a child and had him stand among them. 3“Truly I tell you,” he said, “unless you turn and become like children,#Mt 19:14; Mk 10:15; Lk 18:17; 1Co 14:20; 1Pt 2:2you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.#Mt 5:20; 7:21; 19:23-24; Mk 9:47; Jn 3:5 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child — this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes#18:5 Or receivesone child like this in my name welcomes me.
6 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to fall away — it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea. # Mk 9:42; Lk 17:2; 1Co 8:12 7Woe to the world because of offenses. For offenses will inevitably come, but woe to that person by whom the offense comes.#Mt 26:24; Lk 17:1; 1Co 11:19 8If your hand or your foot causes you to fall away, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire.#Mt 5:30; 25:41; Mk 9:43 9And if your eye causes you to fall away, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellfire.#18:9 Lit gehenna of fire#Mt 5:22,29; Mk 9:47
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
10 “See to it that you don’t despise one of these little ones, # Est 1:14; Lk 1:19; Rv 8:2 because I tell you that in heaven their angels # Ps 34:7; 91:11; Heb 1:14 continually view the face of my Father in heaven. # 18:10 Some mss include v. 11: For the Son of Man has come to save the lost. # Mt 6:29; 25:40,45; Lk 15:7,10 12What do you think?#Lk 15:1-7If someone has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go and search for the stray?#Mt 17:25; 21:28 13And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over that sheep#18:13 Lit over itmore than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14In the same way, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
Restoring a Brother
15 “If your brother sins against you, # 18:15 Other mss omit against you go and rebuke him in private. # 18:15 Lit him between you and him alone If he listens to you, you have won your brother. # Lv 19:17; Lk 17:3; Gl 6:1; 2Th 3:15; Jms 5:19; 1Pt 3:1 16But if he won’t listen, take one or two others with you, so that by the testimony#18:16 Lit mouthof two or three witnesses every fact may be established.#18:16 Dt 19:15#Nm 35:30; Jn 8:17; 2Co 13:1; 1Tm 5:19; Heb 10:28 17If he doesn’t pay attention to them, tell the church.#18:17 Or congregation#Mt 16:18; 1Co 14:4; Rv 1:4If he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like a Gentile and a tax collector to you.#Rm 16:17; 1Co 5:9; 6:1-6; 2Th 3:6,14; 2Jn 10 18Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will have been bound#18:18 Or earth will be boundin heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed#18:18 Or earth will be loosedin heaven.#Mt 16:19; Jn 20:23 19Again, truly I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about any matter that you#18:19 Lit theypray for, it will be done for you#18:19 Lit for themby my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.”
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
21Then Peter approached him and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?” #Lk 17:3-4; Col 3:13
22 “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.#18:22 Or but seventy-seven times
23 “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24When he began to settle accounts, one who owed ten thousand talents#18:24 A talent is worth about 6,000 denarii, or twenty years’ wages for a laborerwas brought before him. 25Since he did not have the money to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt.#Ex 21:2; Lv 25:39; 2Kg 4:1; Neh 5:5,8; Lk 7:42
26 “At this, the servant fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything’ 27Then the master of that servant had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan.
28 “That servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. # 18:28 A denarius = one day’s wage # Mt 20:2; 22:19; Mk 6:37; 14:5; Lk 7:41; 10:35; Jn 6:7 He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe!’
29 “At this, his fellow servant fell down # 18:29 Other mss add at his feet and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30But he wasn’t willing. Instead, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed. 31When the other servants saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened. 32Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ #Mt 6:12; Eph 4:32; Col 3:13; 1Jn 4:11 34And because he was angry, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed. 35So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister#18:35 Other mss add their trespasses from your#18:35 Lit his heart.”#Pr 21:13; Mt 6:14; Jms 2:13