Instruction On Humility
Verse 1 – At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
From Mark’s gospel, Jesus knew the disciples were going to ask this question from what they had been discussing among themselves.
Verse 2 – And Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,
Verse 3 – and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus didn’t instruct them to be “childish,” like the disciples were doing arguing over a petty issue. But instead to be trusting and obedient to the Father’s will, humble.
Verse 4 – “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Verse 5 – “And whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Love with a spirit like this child, one who is humble, meek, and unambitious to self, who is attached to Christ.
Punishment of Offenders
Verse 6 – “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Verse 7 – “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
Adults and parents are held responsible for teaching and guiding their children in right and wrong decisions, just as a new-believer depends on the more mature Christians to learn the ways of God. Woe to those who place temptations in front of a child or new-believer to commit sin. People do this by their influence on others. Don’t let another lead you away from your faith in Christ.
Verse 8 – “And if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast off into the everlasting fire.
Any worldly attachments, friendships, objects, or anything, that causes you to sin, must be cast off. And for those who don’t believe that hell is for eternity, look at what Jesus said, “Everlasting fire!”
Verse 9 – “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.
Stumbling blocks – any person, program, or teaching in the church that threatens the spiritual growth of the body must be removed. For the individual, any practice or activity that leads to sin, should be stopped. Your very soul is at stake.
Verse 10 – “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
We’ve already distinguished who the little ones are: God’s children, all who belong in Him. Jesus appears to teach that angels are assigned to represent believers to God and have access to Him. Be very careful what you do to little children and a believer of the All Mighty!
Parable of the Lost Sheep
Verse 11 – “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.
Verse 12 – “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?
Sinful believers who are restored to church fellowship should not be received begrudgingly or hesitantly but with jubilation just as a shepherd who finds a sheep that goes astray is.
Verse 13 – “And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.
Are we as believers to go after those who go astray? Yes, we are! But here’s what I see today when someone stops going to the house of God. No one calls, no one goes to visit, and no one even notices. I’ve heard this from people over and over. When they left a church body, no one even called to see if they were sick or what might have happened. Maybe the person who left went to another church, but someone should have at least called and showed they cared, but they don’t.
Verse 14 – “Even so it is not the will of the Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
The Offended Brother
Verse 15 – “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained a brother.
This guideline is for dealing with believers, not unbelievers. When a believer wrongs you, you are to go to them alone, and confront them. You don’t take it to social media or tell 10 other people before hand. However, you will find that some people can not be reasoned with. But give them an opportunity to explain their conduct.
Verse 16 – “But if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
They should be their friends, people of influence, those they have confidence in.
Verse 17 – “And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
This is not for every little hurt feelings or small offense. This process is to restore fellowship with the one who has done the offense. But when someone refuses to admit what they have done by repenting, then leave them be. Stop trying.
Verse 18 – “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heave.
The binding and loosing refers to the decisions of the church in conflicts. The decisions made by the church about what behavior is permissible or unacceptable reflect decisions already made by God in His Word.
Verse 19 – “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
So many have taken this verse out of context. Jesus is still talking about restoring the lost and conflicts among believers. When the two witnesses, as in verse 16, agree that the person can be restored or not, then it shall be binding. Agree or disagree with me, but don’t take scripture out of context. We have to read before and after a verse to get the full understanding.
Verse 20 – “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
This statement is a general assertion that Jesus is omnipresent. Jesus affirms that wherever two or three of His children are gathered together in His name, “He is in the midst!”
Instruction About Forgiveness
Verse 21 – Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
Verse 22 – Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Interpreters argue this actually means 70 times of forgiving, but the point Jesus was making is that forgiveness should be unlimited when true repentance is present. We shouldn’t harbor malice against the person. Luke 17:4, says if the brother comes and repents, then we are to forgive. If they do this, then it is our duty to accept the sincere apology. But how often does that truly happen? The believers I know that have argued with another believer, neither side will admit that they were wrong, let alone sorry for anything. They simply don’t speak to each other anymore.
Verse 23 – “Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
Verse 24 – “And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
Verse 25 – “But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.
Verse 26 – “The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all!
Verse 27 – “Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
Jesus is till talking about forgiveness. This allegory represents a sum so huge that no one could repay, therefore representing us as sinners, with a debt we could not pay. The Master’s forgiveness of the huge debt is the act of “Grace!” When we wonder whether we need to forgive another, remember how much Christ has forgiven us!
Verse 28 – “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denari, and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!”
This same servant that was forgiven about a billion dollars goes out and finds a servant that owes him about 15 dollars and demands to be paid. Since our Father has forgiven us many offences that are much larger, shouldn’t we forgive those who commit small offences against us? Here is something to think about: Did we just sin one time before we came to Christ? Not hardly.
Verse 29 – “So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will pay you all.’
Verse 30 – “And he would not, but went and threw him in prison till he should pay the debt.
Verse 31 – “So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told the master all that had been done.
Verse 32 – “Then the master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.
Verse 33 – ‘Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’
Verse 34 – “And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
Verse 35 – “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.
James 2:13 , says, – For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.