Rev. Nate Hill, pastor at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Winchester, TX, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Matthew 18:1-20.
When Jesus teaches His disciples about greatness in the kingdom of heaven by placing a child in their midst, He turned upside down their expectations. In the ancient world, children were valued for the fact that they grew into adults. Jesus reverses such thoughts when it comes to the kingdom of heaven. To enter into the kingdom of heaven is to come as one entirely dependent upon Christ. Jesus values these little ones, and knows that sin would keep them out of the kingdom of heaven. All of Jesus’ disciples, therefore, must beware leading any little ones into sin or falling into sin themselves. The fire of hell is a reality that Jesus does not desire for anyone. Instead, as the Good Shepherd, He seeks after even one who is lost. Though we might scoff at such economics, Jesus values the one, and He calls His Church to the same type of love. His words concerning the brother who has sinned do not serve as a checklist to mark off, but a way to restore an erring brother to the flock of the Church.
“All Righteousness Fulfilled” is a mini-series on Sharper Iron that digs into the Gospel according to St. Matthew. The first evangelist proclaims Jesus to Jews and Gentiles alike as the fulfillment of God’s saving words and acts throughout the Old Testament. As the Christ in the line of David and Abraham, Jesus is the promised King who comes to bring sinners from every nation to live under His gracious reign.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
Who Is the Greatest?
18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,[a] it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Temptations to Sin
7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin![b] For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! 8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell[c] of fire.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.[d] 12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my[e] Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
If Your Brother Sins Against You
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 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 collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[f] in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
- Matthew 18:6 Greek causes… to stumble; also verses 8, 9
- Matthew 18:7 Greek stumbling blocks
- Matthew 18:9 Greek Gehenna
- Matthew 18:10 Some manuscripts add verse 11: For the Son of Man came to save the lost
- Matthew 18:14 Some manuscripts your
- Matthew 18:18 Or shall have been bound… shall have been loosed
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.