(Mat 18:1 NASB) At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Mat 18:1: The disciples were looking forward to the coming kingdom. But they had a very strange question. The question seems to stem from Psalm 110:1-5.
(Mat 18:2 NASB) And He called a child to Himself and set him before them,
(Mat 18:3 NASB) and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Mat 18:4 NASB) “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 18:4: Humbling oneself as a child comes from the Tanakh (Psalm 131:1-3). We are to humble ourselves as a little child relying on his mother.
(Mat 18:5 NASB) “And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me;
(Mat 18:6 NASB) but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Mat 18:6: The question comes as to whether Yeshua is speaking of a little child, or one who has come to Him as a little child. He is apparently speaking of those who come to Yeshua and are newly attempting to turn to Yahweh and His ways. The Greek word for “stumble” is “skandalizo” and it means to cause to stumble or fall away.
The punishment of drowning by having a heavy millstone around ones neck was a mode of punishment in Syria and in Greece. This was used especially in cases of parricide (murder of parents).
(Mat 18:7 NASB) “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!
Mat 18:7: The stumbling blocks here are similar to the word “stumble” in the previous verse. It is those who cause a “falling away” or “offense.”
I do not know how to interpret this passage outside of saying that we should not lead others away from following Torah.
(Mat 18:8 NASB) “And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal fire.
(Mat 18:9 NASB) “And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into the fiery hell.
Mat 18:9: I have heard preachers speak on this passage for years and they all claim this is symbolic and not literal. They use the example that virtually all men lust, therefore all men would be blind. But this is not a reference to your thought life. It is referring to your actions. Certainly blind men can lust also; therefore the problem would not be solved.
However, Yeshua does mean what He says. If we cannot keep from sin due to some obstacle, we are to remove that obstacle regardless of what it is.
(Mat 18:10 NASB) “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven.
Mat 18:10: We have messengers (angels) that protect us and guard us in ways we do not understand (Psalm 34:7, 91:11-12).
(Mat 18:11 NASB) <“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.>
Mat 18:11: This verse is not in the oldest manuscripts. The NIV leaves that verse blank.
(Mat 18:12 NASB) “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?
(Mat 18:13 NASB) “And if it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.
(Mat 18:14 NASB) “Thus it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
Mat 18:14: Yeshua says that some are like sheep who have gone astray. Going astray is a reference to breaking Torah (Isa. 53:6, Psalm 119:174-176). Many are astray because bad shepherds have led them astray from His Torah (Jer. 50:6).
The people had to be thinking of Ezekiel 34:11-31 when they heard Yeshua speaking of the lost sheep in this way.
Yeshua now tells us how to deal with our brother if we know he is in sin.
(Mat 18:15 NASB) “And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
Mat 18:15: This particular verse is translated in a way that it appears to apply to any sin. Yeshua is referring to a Torah command here (Lev. 6:2-7). You are to go to him alone and in love, not for revenge (Lev. 19:17-18, Psalm 141:5, Prov. 25:9-10).
(Mat 18:16 NASB) “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.
Mat 18:16: If he does not listen to you, you are to take one or two more witnesses with you in order to establish what you know to be true (Num. 35:30, Deut. 17:6, 19:15).
When I was kicked out of the Baptist Church because they thought I was teaching against Scripture (or at least against their dogma), this procedure was not followed at all. I was just stripped of all authority.
(Mat 18:17 NASB) “And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.
Mat 18:17: This is proof that Scripture never intended for the reference to “Church” to refer to some Gentile worldwide body of followers of Jesus. There were no groups of Gentile believers or groups or any worldwide body of Christians at that time. The Greek term is “ekklesia” and it means simply an assembly of believers (all or a part of Israel).
Yeshua says to bring this man to the group and if he still will not repent of his sin as Torah commands, he is to be cast out.
(Mat 18:18 NASB) “Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Mat 18:18: The Shem Tov states that this is in reference to “oaths.” But in context of the passage, it would appear that if one is pegged with a sin and the proper steps are followed, then that sin stays on that person if they do not repent. We cannot just knowingly “tolerate” sin in our midst.
(Mat 18:19 NASB) “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.
(Mat 18:20 NASB) “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.”
Mat 18:20: The testimony of two or three witnesses is a powerful entity. It would appear this is in reference to binding and loosing the sins of those among us.
(Mat 18:21 NASB) Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
(Mat 18:22 NASB) Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Mat 18:22: Forgiving others should always be our reaction to those who ask and even to those who do not ask. There should be no boundaries on our forgiveness of others if we wish to be forgiven ourselves (Matt. 6:12-15).
(Mat 18:23 NASB) “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a certain king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.
(Mat 18:24 NASB) “And when he had begun to settle them, there was brought to him one who owed him ten thousand talents.
Mat 18:24: Ten thousand talents is a tremendous amount of money. A talent is 750 ounces of silver. Ten thousand talents are then 7,500,000 ounces of silver. As of March 25, 2011, the price of silver is $33.38 per ounce. That means this man owed (by today’s dollars) $250,350,000.00
(Mat 18:25 NASB) “But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.
Mat 18:25: It is doubtful this man could pay back even a fraction of this amount by selling all that he had and even selling his family.
(Mat 18:26 NASB) “The slave therefore falling down, prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will repay you everything.’
(Mat 18:27 NASB) “And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.
Mat 18:27: The king did not just give the man more time to pay back his debts. Nor did he just reduce the debts. He “forgave” the debt totally. The king truly granted mercy to his slave.
(Mat 18:28 NASB) “But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’
Mat 18:28: The fellow slave owes about 1/600,000 what the slave owed the king. The fellow slave owed the equivalent of about $417.25.
(Mat 18:29 NASB) “So his fellow slave fell down and began to entreat him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’
(Mat 18:30 NASB) “He was unwilling however, but went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.
Mat 18:30: It seems absurd that this man would not forgive such a small debt. But that is a fair comparison to us if we do not forgive our brother.
(Mat 18:31 NASB) “So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.
(Mat 18:32 NASB) “Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you entreated me.
(Mat 18:33 NASB) ‘Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, even as I had mercy on you?’
(Mat 18:34 NASB) “And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.
(Mat 18:35 NASB) “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”
Mat 18:35: Yeshua is very plain in His warning to us for not forgiving one another.