Matthew 18

In Today's Scripture Reading:

Humility; the lost sheep; forgiveness; marriage and divorce; rich young ruler; workers in the vineyard; two blind men healed

Peter asked a far more important question than he realized when he inquired of Jesus: Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22).

Peter thought he was being generous in suggesting seven times. This was twice as many times as required by the traditions of the scribes, plus one more, for a total of seven times. Unwillingness to forgive everyone of their sins against us while, at the same time, expecting Christ to forgive us of all our sins against Him everyday for a lifetime is, a fatal sin. He has warned if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (6:15).

The Lord gives an illustration of a servant who owed ten thousand talents to his king (18:24). The amount was impossible to repay even in a lifetime. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed (released) him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence (mere pennies compared to 10,000 talents): and he laid hands on him . . . saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison (18:26-30). When his lord was made aware of what took place, he was wroth (angry), and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall My Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses (18:31-35).

When the fear of God is considered, we find it much easier to forgive others. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:31-32; also Matthew 6:14-15).

Word Studies:

18:6 offend =b> cause to sin; 19:14 Suffer =b> Permit; 20:3 third hour =b> 9 a.m.; 20:11 goodman =b> a male head of a household; it does not refer to a man's goodness; 20:15 Is thine eye evil? =b> Are you begrudging, jealous, or envious?; 20:26 minister =b> servant.

Cross References:

For Matthew 18:16: See Deuteronomy 19:15. Matthew 19:4: See Genesis 1:27; 5:2. Matthew 19:5: See Genesis 2:24. Matthew 19:7: See Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Matthew 19:18: See Exodus 20:13-16; Deuteronomy 5:17-20. Matthew 19:19: See Exodus 20:12; Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 5:16.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Staff: Mike Moore Government Officials: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH) and Rep. Thomas Price (GA) Country: New Zealand (4 million) two large islands southeast of Australia Major languages: English and Maori Religious freedom 51% Protestant; 16% Roman Catholic; 3% cults Prayer Suggestion: Intercede for your nation and friends in prayer with fasting and a self-sacrificing spirit (Esther 4:16).

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 4:4