Matthew 18 AUV - At that very time His disciples came to Jesus, asking, "Who



1 At that very time His disciples came to Jesus, asking, "Who then is the most important person in the kingdom of heaven?"
2 So, He called to Him a little child and placed him in front of them, 3 and said, "Truly I tell you, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven unless you turn [your life around] and become like little children [i.e., having child-like humility]. 4 Therefore, the person who will humble himself, as this little child, is the most important person in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And the person who welcomes one little child like this, in my name [i.e., because he belongs to me], welcomes me [also].
6 But that person who causes one of these little ones [i.e., humble followers of the Lord] who believes in me to be led astray [from God], he would have been better off to have had a huge millstone tied around his neck and dumped into a deep ocean [Note: This "millstone" was a heavy circular stone rolled over grain to crush it and was moved by an animal walking in a circle]. 7 "It will be too bad for the world because of occasions that cause people to fall away [from God]! For it is inevitable that such occasions come, but it is too bad for that person who is responsible for causing it to happen. 8 If your hand or your foot becomes the occasion for you falling away [from God], cut them off and throw them away. It would be better for you to enter [never ending] life disabled or crippled, rather than keeping both hands and both feet and being thrown into the never ending fire [i.e., because they caused you to fall away from God]. 9 And if your eye becomes the occasion for you falling away [from God], gouge it out and throw it away, for it would be better for you to enter [never ending] life with [only] one eye, rather than keeping both eyes and being thrown into a fiery hell [i.e., because one of them caused you to fall away from God].
10 Make sure you do not look down on any one of these little ones [i.e., humble followers of Christ]. For I tell you, their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. {[{[Some ancient manuscripts include verse 11 For the Son of man came to save those who were lost.]}]} 12 What do you think? If anyone had a hundred sheep, and one of them wandered away, would he not leave the ninety-nine [safe ones] and go to the mountains looking for the one that wandered away? 13 Truly I tell you, if he happens to find it, he is happier over it than over the ninety-nine that had not wandered away. 14 In the same way, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that [a single] one of these little ones [i.e., humble followers of Christ] should be lost.
15 "And if your brother sins against you, go and show him where he wronged you, [but] keep it between just the two of you. If he listens to you [i.e., accepts your reasoning and repents], you have won your brother [back]. 16 But if he does not listen [to your reasoning], take one or two other people with you, so that two or three witnesses can verify every word [that was said]. 17 And if he refuses to listen to them [i.e., the witnesses], explain the [whole] matter to the church [i.e., probably a specially called meeting of mature Christians to resolve the matter]. And if he refuses to listen to the church also, [i.e., to acknowledge his sin and repent of it], consider him like an [unconverted] Gentile or tax collector [i.e., do not have fellowship with him]. 18 Truly I tell you, whatever [truth] you disciples require [of people to believe and obey] on earth will have [already] been required [by God] in heaven. And whatever [truth] you do not require [of people to believe and obey] on earth, will not have [already] been required [by God] in heaven. 19 I tell you again, if two of you agree [here] on earth concerning anything you ask for [i.e., in prayer], God in heaven will grant it to you. 20 For I am in the presence of two or three [disciples] wherever they are gathered in my name."
21 Then Peter came and said to Jesus, "Lord, how often must I forgive my brother when he sins against me? As many as seven times?"
22 Jesus replied, "I tell you, not [just] up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven [i.e., a large indefinite number of times]. 23 "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is similar to a certain king who decided to settle his account with his servants. 24 When he began figuring, one of his servants, who owed him a huge sum of money [Note: The amount is variously estimated to be as much as $50,000,000 in 1994], was brought to him. 25 But since he did not have enough [money] to pay [what he owed], his master ordered that he, his wife, his children and all his possessions be sold [in order] to pay [his debt].
26 The servant then fell to the ground [before his master] and humbly implored him, saying, 'Master, [please] be patient with me and I will repay you everything [I owe].' 27 And the master of that servant felt deep pity [for him], so released him [from custody] and canceled his debt.
28 But that [same] servant went out and found one of his fellow-servants who owed him a small sum of money [Note: The amount was about days of a farm laborer's pay or about $7,000 in 1994]. He grabbed him by the throat, saying, 'Pay [me] what you owe.'
29 His fellow-servant fell [on the ground before him] and begged him, saying, '[Please] be patient with me and I will repay you [all I owe you].' 30 But he would not do it. Instead, he took him and had him thrown into prison until he paid [him] all he owed. 31 When his fellow-servants saw what he had done, they were very upset and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 Then his master called for him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I canceled all of your debt because you begged me to. 33 Should you not also have had pity on your fellow-servant just as I pitied you?' 34 His master then became furious and turned him over [to the authorities] to be punished until he paid all that he owed. 35 In the same way my heavenly Father will also deal with you [i.e., punish you] unless every one of you forgives his brother from the heart."