At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
He called a child, whom he put among them,
and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
"If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!
"If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, 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 to be thrown into the eternal fire.
And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell a of fire.
"Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. b11c12
What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?
And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.
So it is not the will of your d Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.
"If another member of the church e sins against you, f go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. g16
But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
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 h 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 i times.
"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.
When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents j was brought to him;
and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made.
So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, "Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.'
And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt.
But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; k and seizing him by the throat, he said, "Pay what you owe.'
Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, "Have patience with me, and I will pay you.'
But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt.
When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.
Then his lord summoned him and said to him, "You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.
Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?'
And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt.
So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister l from your heart."
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (New Revised Standard w/ Apocrypha)