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Greatest ; in that the kingdom on earth which they, in common with their countrymen, thought the Messiah would set up. Greatness in the view of men differs much from greatness in the sight of God. Men must give up seeking the one, in order to obtain the other. Among those who have right views of true greatness, there will never by any contention about it.
A little child ; this he did to correct their false notions about his kingdom, to show them that it was spiritual, and that spiritual excellence, not outward splendor or authority, constituted greatness in it.
Converted ; changed in their views and character.
As little children ; humble, docile, submissive, obedient. Many of the characteristics of little children afford important instruction to mankind.
In my name ; from love to me, and because he belongs to me. Jesus Christ takes a deep interest in even the least and feeblest of his people, and views what is done to them as done to himself. Chap. Matthew 25:40 .
Woe unto the world ; great evils will come on the world through the offences which men will commit.
Needs be , such is the wickedness of men, that they will lead others to commit sin.
Hand-foot-eye ; these represent our strongest earthly desires and our dearest earthly possessions. These must all be denied and renounced rather than that we, by sinning ourselves, should be occasions of sin to others. Compare chap. Matthew 5:29-40.5.30 . However convenient or dear any thing may be, if it cause us to sin, it is better to do without it, than to have it and suffer the consequences.
These little ones ; these disciples of mine, who are little ones in character. See note on ver Matthew 18:3 . The precept has reference to all Christ’s humble followers, but is more especially applicable to those who are poor and obscure.
Their angels ; who are sent forth to minister to them. Hebrews 1:14 .
Always behold the face of my Father ; how dear, then, must they be to God, and how great the peril of those who offend them. As angels, who always have access to God and enjoy intimate communion with him, are not ashamed to minister to the poorest and most humble of his people, no human being should be.
That which was lost ; sinners. God and angels rejoice over their salvation. To illustrate this, he spoke a parable.
Rejoiceth more ; this was natural. So with God. He rejoices in the salvation of the wandering and exposed. Of course, all should labor for this end. One way in which they could do it, he proceeded to point out in ver. Matthew 18:15 .
The seeking and saving of those who are lost, and the bringing of them to the fold of the Redeemer, gives joy to angels and to God.
Hear thee ; if he is reclaimed.
Gained thy brother ; thou hast been instrumental in restoring him. The way to reclaim an offending brother is for some brother to go and converse with him alone . If this is not effectual, he is to take one or two more, and converse with him again. If that is not effectual, then it is their duty to communicate what has been done to the church. If, under their discipline, he will not reform, he is to be cut off.
Not hear ; if he persevere in the wrong.
Established ; fully proved. Deuteronomy 19:15 .
Neglect to hear them ; if they cannot reclaim him.
Heathen man ; let him have no more connection with the church than you would allow to an open idolater.
Ye shall bind-loose ; that is, the disciples who constitute the church spoken of in the preceding verse. This, which had been before said to Peter, chap Matthew 16:19 , is now said to the disciples generally, and it conferred as much power on them, as it did on him, and it promised as many blessings to them as it did to him. Whatever he or they should do in accordance with the directions of Christ, and in obedience to his will, would be ratified in heaven. This is true of the church and ministry of Christ in all ages. See note on chap. Matthew 16:19 .
Any thing ; that is agreeable to his will.
In my name ; under my authority, and for the purpose of doing any thing connected with the advancement of my kingdom.
In the midst ; I am present with them, to hear and bless them.
However numerous or aggravated are the offences of any brother, if he give evidence of penitence by confessing and forsaking his sins, all are bound to forgive him.
Seventy times seven ; we are not to limit our forgiveness to any definite number of offences, but to forgive as often as we are injured.
The kingdom of heaven ; the dealings of Christ with men in the end of the world and the day of judgment, which were to usher in the last and crowning stage of his mediatorial dispensation. See Matthew 3:2 ; 1 Corinthians 15:24 , etc.
Ten thousand talents ; an immense sum, which he could never pay.
To be sold ; it was customary then for creditors to sell debtors and their families for a sufficient length of time to pay their debts.
A hundred pence ; a very small sum compared with ten thousand talents.
Tormentors ; those who had authority to examine and extort confessions by torture.
Do also unto you ; if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us, but will punish us as we deserve. An unforgiving spirit is the spirit of perdition.
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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 18". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent