Attention!
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Brown's Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 18

  1. Introduction
    1. (Read) Philippians 2:1-11
    2. Humility – it’s not thinking of ourselves but what will please God and show love to our neighbors…
    3. Context: Same time frame as last week…we’re still children of the King with that thought process…

Verses 1-11

  1. Children
    1. Become as a Little Child
      Matthew 18:1-5 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
      1. Jesus said, “He’s the King, and we’re the children”…now He is saying that if we don’t become as a little child, if we will not HUMBLE ourselves as a little child, then we have NO part in the Kingdom of Heaven.
      2. Children are:
        1. Innocent / trusting
        2. Loving / Forgiving
        3. Caring
        4. Vulnerable – which is one of the hardest because it involves laying down our pride and trusting others to love us unconditionally!
        5. Dependent
      3. Jesus is telling us that this is the goal of our attitude towards our Father in heaven and towards each other!
      4. Paul echoes this thought in his letter to the Ephesians:
        1. Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
      5. In fact, when revival comes it incorporates:
        1. ​​​​​​​Humility--- 2 Chron. 7:14
        2. Prayerfulness--- James 5:16
        3. Brokenness of Heart--- Psalm 34:18
        4. Confession---Psalm 66:18; 1 John 1:9
        5. Repentance---2 Cor. 7:10
        6. Turning from Sin---2 Tim. 2:19
        7. Complete Surrender---Romans 12:1-2
        8. Falling deeper and deeper in love with God--- Matthew 22:37
        9. Greater Involvement in the Reading and Studying of God’s Word---Neh 8:1-12
    2. Don’t Stumble a Child!
      1. ​​​​​​Woe to those Who Offend a Little One
        ​​​​​​​Matthew 18:6-9 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. 7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! 8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot 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. 9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
        1. Romans 14:1-3, 7-8 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
        2. 1 Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.
        3. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
        4. Romans 15:1-2 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. (Echoing what he said in Phil 2:3-4)
      2. Their Angels are Always Before the Father
        1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Matthew 18:10 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.

Verses 12-20

  1. Jesus Came to Save the Lost
    1. One Out of a Hundred
      Matthew 18:12-14 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
      1. Part of humility is staying dependent upon our shepherd…the safest place we can be is right next to Jesus!
      2. But…if we should stray off and away from Him, He’s quick to come get us and bring us back!
        1. If we are not thinking of ourselves but esteeming others as better than ourselves, we’ll have this same heart – to go after others who are not staying close and seek to encourage them in their walk.
      3. Another thing we learn from this parable, though, is that Jesus loves us unconditionally and individually…He seeks after the one and doesn’t complain about us being “dumb” sheep!
      4. Finally, the Lord loves us emotionally…He rejoices when you come back!!! He loves us so much!
    2. Forgiveness and Right Living
      Matthew 18:15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
      1. 3 Steps
        1. ​​​​​​​Go to your brother in Private
        2. Go with 2-3 witnesses.
        3. Take it to the church.
    3. Restoration
      Matthew 18:18-20 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
      1. Galatians 6:1-2 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
      2. Greek tense: bind / loose -- whatever you bind has already been bound / loosed è simply proclaiming God’s truth.
      3. Humility—looking after other’s best interests

Verses 21-35

  1. Forgiveness
    1. How Many Times?
      Matthew 18:21-22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
      1. Talmud
        1. Said 2-3 times max! Then you didn’t have to forgive anymore!
      2. More than I can count
        1. Jesus says 490 times – can I remember that many or will I lose count? I SHOULD lose count!
      3. Until the Kingdom Comes
        1. Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
        2. 70 sevens…or I should continue to forgive until Christ sets up His kingdom here on earth!​​​​​​​
    2. Our Example
      Matthew 18:23-35 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee? 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.
Copyright Statement
Brown's Commentary on the New Testament is reproduced by permission of author. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Brown, Jim. "Commentary on Matthew 18". "Brown's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnc/matthew-18.html. 2017.