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For the exposition, see on Mr 9:33-50.
Mt 18:10-35. FURTHER TEACHING ON THE SAME SUBJECT, INCLUDING THE PARABLE OF THE UNMERCIFUL DEBTOR.
Same Subject (Mt 18:10-20).
10. Take heed that ye despise--stumble.
11. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost--or "is lost." A golden saying, once and again repeated in different forms. Here the connection seems to be, "Since the whole object and errand of the Son of man into the world is to save the lost, take heed lest, by causing offenses, ye lose the saved." That this is the idea intended we may gather from Mt 18:14.
12, 13. How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, &c.--This is another of those pregnant sayings which our Lord uttered more than once. See on the delightful parable of the lost sheep in Lu 15:4-7. Only the object there is to show what the good Shepherd will do, when even one of His sheep is lost, to find it; here the object is to show, when found, how reluctant He is to lose it. Accordingly, it is added,
14. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish--How, then, can He but visit for those "offenses" which endanger the souls of these little ones?
15. 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, &c.--Probably our Lord had reference still to the late dispute, Who should be the greatest? After the rebuke--so gentle and captivating, yet so dignified and divine--under which they would doubtless be smarting, perhaps each would be saying, It was not I that began it, it was not I that threw out unworthy and irritating insinuations against my brethren. Be it so, says our Lord; but as such things will often arise, I will direct you how to proceed. First, Neither harbor a grudge against your offending brother, nor break forth upon him in presence of the unbelieving; but take him aside, show him his fault, and if he own and make reparation for it, you have done more service to him than even justice to yourself. Next, If this fail, take two or three to witness how just your complaint is, and how brotherly your spirit in dealing with him. Again, If this fail, bring him before the Church or congregation to which both belong. Lastly, If even this fail, regard him as no longer a brother Christian, but as one "without"--as the Jews did Gentiles and publicans.
18. 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--Here, what had been granted but a short time before to Peter only (see on Mt 16:19) is plainly extended to all the Twelve; so that whatever it means, it means nothing peculiar to Peter, far less to his pretended successors at Rome. It has to do with admission to and rejection from the membership of the Church. But see on Joh 20:23.
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--or "unto
21. Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother
sin against me, and I forgive him?--In the recent dispute, Peter had
probably been an object of special envy, and his forwardness in
continually answering for all the rest would likely be cast up to
him--and if so, probably by Judas--notwithstanding his Master's
commendations. And as such insinuations were perhaps made once and
again, he wished to know how often and how long he was to stand it.
22. Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times; but, Until seventy times seven--that is, so long as it shall be needed and sought: you are never to come to the point of refusing forgiveness sincerely asked. (See on Lu 17:3, 4).
23. Therefore--"with reference to this matter."
24. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents--If Attic talents are here meant, 10,000 of them would amount to above a million and a half sterling; if Jewish talents, to a much larger sum.
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--(See 2Ki 4:1; Ne 5:8; Le 25:39).
26. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him--or did humble
obeisance to him.
27. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt--Payment being hopeless, the master is first moved with compassion; next, liberates his debtor from prison; and then cancels the debt freely.
28. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow
servants--Mark the difference here. The first case is that of master
and servant; in this case, both are on a footing of equality. (See
29. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all--The same attitude, and the same words which drew compassion from his master, are here employed towards himself by his fellow servant.
30. And he would not; but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt, &c.--Jesus here vividly conveys the intolerable injustice and impudence which even the servants saw in this act on the part of one so recently laid under the heaviest obligation to their common master.
32, 33. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, &c.--Before bringing down his vengeance upon him, he calmly points out to him how shamefully unreasonable and heartless his conduct was; which would give the punishment inflicted on him a double sting.
34. And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors--more
than jailers; denoting the severity of the treatment which he thought
such a case demanded.
35. So likewise--in this spirit, or on this principle.