18:2 1 And Jesus called a a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
(1) Humbleness of mind is the right way to preeminence. 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be b converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
(a) A child in years.
(b) An idiom taken from the Hebrews which is equivalent to "repent". 18:6 2 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
(2) We ought to have great respect for our brethren no matter how base they may be: and he that does otherwise shall be sharply punished. 18:7 3 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that c offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
(3) A good man cannot help but experience offences, yet he must by no means offer offence. 18:8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot d offend thee, cut them off, and cast [them] from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
(c) Obstructions and hindrances which stop the course of good works. The Greek word conveys the sense of things which we stumble at.
(d) See 18:10 4 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
(4) The weaker that a man is, the greater care we ought to have for his salvation, as God teaches us by his own example. 18:15 5 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against e thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
(5) We must strive for agreement, and not to revenge injuries. 18:16 But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the f mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be g established.
(e) If his offence is such that only you know your brothers offence.
18:17 6 And if he shall h neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the i church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as k an heathen man and a publican.
(f) That is, by the word and witness; the mouth is sometimes taken for the word of speech, ( Numbers 3:16 ), and also for a still witness, namely, when the matter speaks for itself, as below in ( Matthew 21:16 ).
(g) Sure and certain.
(6) He that condemns the judgment of the Church, condemns God. 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall l agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
(h) Literally, "does not condescend to hear", or "make as though he did not hear".
(i) He speaks not of just any policy, but of an ecclesiastical assembly, for he speaks afterward of the power of loosing and binding, which belonged to the Church, and he has regard for the order used in those days, at which time the elders had the judgment of Church matters in their hands, ( John 9:22 ; 12:42 ; 16:2 ), and used casting out of the synagogue for a punishment, as we do now by excommunication.
(k) Profane, and void of religion: such men, the Jews called Gentiles: whose company they shunned, as they did the publicans.
(l) This word, which is normally used of the body, is here used of the mind, for it belongs properly to poetry. 18:21 7 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
(7) They will find God severe and not too pleased, who do not forgive their brethren even if they have been purposely and grievously injured by them. 18:24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him m ten thousand talents.
(m) Here is set down a very great sum of six thousand crowns, that the difference may be the greater, for there is no proportion between them. 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and n worshipped him, saying, Lord, o have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
(n) This was a polite reverence which was very common in the East.
(o) Yield not too much to your anger against me: so is God called in the Scripture, slow to anger, that is to say, gentle, and one that refrains his fierce wrath, ( Psalms 86:5 ); patient and of great mercy.