Matthew 18:23
Because of this, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
Lix. the Preacher and His HearersS. Baring-GouldMatthew 18:23
The Wicked ServantCharles KingsleyMatthew 18:23
The Limits of MercyJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 18:21-35
The Unmerciful ServantMarcus Dods Matthew 18:21-35
A Wide View of Heavenly Good Lessens the Power of Earthly WrongsW. Arnot.Matthew 18:23-35
Compassion God-LikeT. Adams.Matthew 18:23-35
Evil of SinBenjamin Keach.Matthew 18:23-35
ForgivenessH. L. Hastings.Matthew 18:23-35
Forgiveness -- One Law for Lord and ServantA. Macleod, D. D.Matthew 18:23-35
God's Mercy Reproduced in the Life of the ChristianA. Macleod, D. D.Matthew 18:23-35
Influence of ForgivenessMarcus Dods.Matthew 18:23-35
Man Freed from an Unforgiving Temper by the Gentle Influences of the Divine LoveW. Arnot.Matthew 18:23-35
Man's Unavailing Effort to Pay His Sin DebtsW. M. Taylor, D. D.Matthew 18:23-35
Mercy Uncommunicated, not Truly ReceivedW. Arnot.Matthew 18:23-35
Our Great CreditorFrom the Latin.Matthew 18:23-35
Sin as DebtBenjamin Keach.Matthew 18:23-35
Sinners Like DebtorsBenjamin Keach.Matthew 18:23-35
The Debt of ManFrom the Latin., Heubner.Matthew 18:23-35
The Forgiving Spirit Aided by PrayerW. Arnot.Matthew 18:23-35
The Hard DebtorW.F. Adeney Matthew 18:23-35
The Just AccountFrom the Latin.Matthew 18:23-35
The Magnitude of Injury Determined by Our Temper Towards ItW. Arnot.Matthew 18:23-35
The Parable of the King that Took Account of His ServantFrom the Latin.Matthew 18:23-35
The Sinner's DebtJ. Morison, D.D.Matthew 18:23-35
The TormentorsFrom the Latin.Matthew 18:23-35
The Unmerciful ServantW. M. Taylor, D. D.Matthew 18:23-35
The Unmerciful ServantExpository OutlinesMatthew 18:23-35
The Unmerciful ServantW. Arnot.Matthew 18:23-35
Twenty-Seceded Sunday After TrinityJ. A. Seiss, D. D.Matthew 18:23-35
Ways of Being DebtorsBenjamin Keach.Matthew 18:23-35

This parable follows our Lord's answer to St. Peter's question about the limits of forgiveness. The great reason why we should forgive freely is that we have been freely forgiven much more than any men owe to us.

I. THE GREAT DEBT. This represents what the sinner owes to God. We pray that God will forgive us our debts (Matthew 6:12). Deficiencies of duty are like debts considered as arrears of payments. Positive transgressions are like debts, through our having wilfully appropriated what was not our own without paying for it. The accumulated omissions and offences make up the one consolidated debt of guilt.

1. Its immense size. Christ names a fabulous sum. There is no counting the accumulated sins of a lifetime.

2. Its full exposure. The miserable debtor had been postponing the evil day. Perhaps, as he had been left long to himself, he had begun to hope that he would never be called to account. But the day of reckoning came. That day will come forevery soul. Long delay means an aggravated debt.

II. THE DREADFUL PUNISHMENT. It was according to the stern legislation of antiquity, and Christ bases his parables on familiar aspects of life without thereby justifying the facts and usages that he describes. In the spiritual world great punishment is the due of great sin. A reaction against the physical horrors of the mediaeval hell has blinded our age to this fearful truth. Yet Christ frequently affirms it in calm, terrible language.

III. THE GENEROUS FORGIVENESS. In his dismay the debtor grovels at the feet of his lord, and foolishly offers to repay all if only the king will be patient and give him time. That is impossible, and the king knows it. We can never repay what we owe to God. If his mercy only took the form of staying execution, at best it would only lead to a postponement of our doom. But the king forgave the debtor - forgave him completely. God forgives freely and fully. He acts royally. He does not spoil his gift by making it but half a pardon. The great debt is completely cancelled to the penitent soul.

IV. THE SUBSEQUENT CRUELTY. The debtor's conduct was doubly odious. He had just been forgiven himself, and his debt was vastly greater than his fellow servant's. Yet he treated the poor man with brutal insistence, with cruel harshness. Nothing could be more odious than this conduct. But is it not just the conduct of every Christian who will not forgive his brother? The Christian should be melted by the sight of God's boundless clemency, by his own reception of it, and by the knowledge that God has forgiven him far more than anything he can ever have to forgive his brother.

V. THE FINAL DOOM. The king is justly angry. He recalls the pardon. He even has his wretched debtor put to torture. There are degrees of punishment in the future world, and the worse torment is reserved for those who, having accepted the mercy of God for themselves, have had no mercy on their brother-men. - W.F.A.

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
I. THAT WE ARE ALL GOD'S DEBTORS. Debt in the New Testament is a common figure for sin; but duty is a moral thing, not a commercial. It is used figuratively to denote an obligation which one has failed to meet. Let us compare our character with the requirements of God's law.

II. THAT NONE OF US HAS ANYTHING WHEREWITH TO PAY HIS DEBT TO GOD. Few will admit this. They say, "Have patience with me and I will pay thee all." They will try to make themselves better.


IV. THAT THE RECEPTION OF THIS FORGIVENESS BY US INVOLVES IN IT THE OBLIGATION TO FORGIVE THOSE OF OUR FELLOW-MEN WHO HAVE TRESPASSED AGAINST OURSELVES. How far this obligation extends. It does not imply that we are to take no notice of the wrong done us; this would be selfish indifference alike to our brother and his guilt. But how comes it that the obligation to cherish this forgiving spirit is connected with our reception of God's mercy. All who accept God's pardon are at the same time renewed into His image by the power of the Holy Spirit; and so resembling Him in character, they seek to do unto others as He has done to them. Gratitude will take this form (Ephesians 4:32). Lessons:

1. That our sins against God are vastly greater than our neighbour's trespasses against us.

2. We are constantly needing the forbearance of God and the long-suffering of our fellow-man.

3. That implacability on our part is an evidence that we are as yet unforgiven by God.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

Commonly the very last thing which he will admit is that he can do nothing to make atonement for it. He will go about to establish his own righteousness. He will try to make himself better. He will promise future obedience, as if that could be a satisfaction for the sins of the past. It is thus with him as it is too often with business men in a time of embarrassment; for, no matter how involved his affairs may be, the very last thing that a merchant will admit is that he is hopelessly insolvent. Hugh Miller, in his autobiography, thus describes what he learned by his experience as a clerk in the branch bank of Linlithgow: "I found I could predict every bankruptcy in the district; but I usually fell short from ten to eighteen months of the period in which the event actually took place. I could pretty nearly determine the time when the difficulties and entanglements which I saw, ought to have produced their proper effects, and landed in failure; but I missed taking into account the desperate efforts which men of energetic temperament make in such circumstances, and which, to the signal injury of their friends and the loss of their creditors, succeed usually in staving off the catastrophe for a season." So the sinner, in his attempts to work out his own redemption, sinks only the deeper into the mire.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

It is a parable to show us that our life must be a repetition "of the life of God. "How often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? "

I. THE ANSWER OF THE LORD, FOLDED UP IN THIS PARABLE, IS "AS OFTEN AS GOD FORGIVES US." As soon as the lord began to reckon with his servants, he found this great defaulter; in any company God would immediately find such an one. What our Lord represents as one act, is really a continued flow of acts; every hour we are the subjects of forgiveness. Just as often you are to let forgiveness flow forth to others; the heart of the servant must be in unison with the heart of the master.

II. GOD'S MERCY TO US IS TO BE A SPRING OF MERCY IN US TO OTHERS. The unmerciful servant would not resemble his master. We are receivers mainly that we may be givers. Observe the circumstances in which as Christians we are expected to exercise a forgiving spirit. Christ does not ask us to make bricks without straw. Everything that we need for the fulfilment of the command is provided. The Holy Spirit is given to mould us to the form of mercy which is in Him. It is a reasonable and ample provision. Christ endeavours to open our hearts by kindness; not by reproaches or commands, but by forgiveness. He dies that our transgressions may be put away. If the power to forgive be greater in us in this way than any other, the responsibility under which we lie to put forth that power is enormously increased.

III. WE MUST TAKE THE ENTIRE GIFT, OR LOSE ALL. The entire gift of the king was something more than forgiveness. It was also a forgiving heart. It is the gift of a new life. He took the liberty, joy, relief, and then stopped. He took the remission of his debt; but not the debt-remitting heart. Pardon is not salvation; there must be holiness as well.

(A. Macleod, D. D.)

If you cleave a stem of rock crystal into fragments, every fragment will be found a repetition more or less complete of the unbroken crystal. In a single drop of seawater you will find all the elements of the sea itself. Pluck a leaf from the oak, the beech, the plane, or any forest tree; place it between you and the light — you will find that the profile of the leaf is the profile of the perfect tree. Look at its veins; they are a little map of the branches of the tree. The tree reproduces itself in the leaf; the leaf is a picture of the whole tree. The form of the fragment, of the drop, of the leaf. is the form of the whole to which it belongs. This law holds throughout the wide variety of nature. A single bone reveals the animal: a single ray of light contains the mysteries of all light; the pebble you start with your foot is an epitome of the globe we inhabit.

(A. Macleod, D. D.)

Expository Outlines
This parable.

I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH LED TO ITS DELIVERY. Our Lord had been giving instructions to his disciples concerning the restoration of an erring brother. The injured party should be ready to forgive.

II. THE SEVERAL PARTS OF WHICH IT IS COMPOSED. The king is intended to represent the Most High; but He is not too exalted to attend to the concerns of His subjects.

1. A servant is in debt to his sovereign.

(1)Its amount exceedingly great. Our sin is great.

(2)This servant being unable to meet his heavy liabilities, the claims of justice are advanced.

(3)To arrest the execution of the sentence a humble and earnest plea is presented.

(4)Touched with a feeling of pity the king relinquishes his claims and extends to the debtors a full and free pardon.

2. One servant in debt to another: even to him who had been so heavily in debt himself, but was most generously released from all his obligations.

(1)A contrast truly appalling.

(2)A punishment richly deserved.


(Expository Outlines)

Warn against misapplications of the parable.

1. It would be an error to apply it to the subject of property obligations and money-debt.

2. Neither does it relate to civil punishments (Romans 13:1-5).

3. Neither are we to see in this parable the history of any particular persons, but simply the exhibition of the nature and working of the Divine principle of grace. first in absolving us, and then in the temper which it begets in the hearts of those who are the subjects of it.

4. Neither is it intended to teach us by this parable. that our exercise of forgiveness is in any way the procuring cause of God's forgiveness.The way thus cleared, consider some of the elements of the parable itself.

1. Man is an immense debtor.

2. Sad is man's estate in view of this enormous indebtedness. There is a way, however, for these terrible consequences to be averted.

4. But there may be great debtors to whom the Lord's word of entire forgiveness has been spoken, who yet in the end fail of the advantages of it.

5. God's forgiveness is not bestowed that we may indulge our selfishness and greed.

6. There are other servants spoken of besides the two debtors. "When they saw what was done they were very sorry." This is the form which true charity takes when called to witness sinfulness.

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

I. The PRACTICE of forgiving injuries.

II. The principle of forgiving injurious.

(W. Arnot.)

If the channel of his heart had really been inserted into the fountain-head of mercy for receiving, mercy would infallibly have flowed in the way of giving, wherever the need of a brother made an opening; if the vessel had been charged, it would certainly have discharged. No compassion flowed from that heart to refresh a fellow-creature in distress, because that heart had never truly opened to accept mercy from God; the reservoir was empty, and therefore the outbranching channels remained dry.

(W. Arnot.)

Most of the injuries with which we are called to deal are small, even in relation to human capacity; they are, very often precisely of the size that our own temper makes them. Some people possess the art of esteeming great injuries small, and some the art of esteeming small injuries great. The first is like a traveller who throws a great many stones out of the burden which he carries, and so walks with ease along the road; the other is like a traveller who gathers a great many stones on the wayside, and adds them to his burden, and is therefore soon crushed by the load.

(W. Arnot.)

A traveller in Burmah, after fording a certain river, found his body covered all over by a swarm of small leeches, busily sucking his blood. His first impulse was to tear the tormentors from his flesh; but his servant warned him that to pull them off by mechanical violence would expose his life to danger. They must not be torn off, lest portions remain in the wounds and become a poison; they must drop off spontaneously, and so they will be harmless. The native forthwith prepared a hath for his master, by the decoction of some herbs, and directed him to lie down in it. As soon as he had bathed in the balsam the leeches dropped off. Each unforgiven injury rankling in the heart is like a leech sucking the lifeblood. Mere human determination to have done with it, will not cast the evil thing away. You must bathe your whole being in God's pardoning mercy; and these venomous creatures will instantly let go their hold. You will stand up free.

(W. Arnot.)

While a few acres of cold barren moorland constitute all your heritage, if a neighbour encroaches on it by a hair's-breadth, you assert your right and repel the aggression; possibly you may, in your zeal, accuse him of an intention to trespass, if you see him digging his own ground near your border. While your property is very small, you are afraid of losing any of it; and perhaps you cry out before you are hurt. But if you become heir to a broad estate in a fertile valley, you will no longer be disposed to watch the motions of your neighbour, and go to law with him for a spadeful of moss that he may have taken from a disputed spot. Thus, while a human soul has no other portion than an uncertain shred of this uncertain world, be is kept in terror lest an atom of his property should be lost; he will do battle with all his might against any one who is, or seems to be, encroaching on his honour, or business, or property: but when he becomes a child of God, and an heir of an incorruptible inheritance — when he is a prince on the steps of a throne, he can afford to overlook small deductions from a possession that is insignificant in itself, and liable to be taken away at any time without an hour's warning.

(W. Arnot.)

The miller, finding that some of the lumps are large and hard, and that the mill-stones are consequently almost standing still, goes quietly out and lets more water on. Go you, and do likewise. When injuries that seem large and hard are accumulated on your head, and the process of forgiving them begins to choke and go slow under the pressure, as if it would soon stop altogether; when the demand for forgiveness grows great, and the forgiving power in the heart is unable to meet it; then, enter into your closet and shut your door, and pray to your Father specifically for more experience of His forgiving love; so shall your forgiving love grow stronger, and overcome every obstacle that stands in its way.

(W. Arnot.)

I. That sin is a debt, a vast debt; or that there is much, yea great, exceeding great evil in sin, considered as a debt.

II. That sinners are debtors, and have nothing to pay, and therefore are forgiven freely, as an act of God's mercy, all their debts without any satisfaction made by them.

III. That God doth and will call sinners who are debtors to Him, to an account, be they willing or no.

IV. That a pardoned person, or one that God hath forgiven, does forgive from his heart all those that have injured him, and they that do not so are not, nor shall be ever forgiven.

(Benjamin Keach.)

1. Sin is a vast debt, or an exceeding great evil in respect of God, against whom it is committed.

2. Sin is a vast debt, considering what wrong it hath done to God; it is a crossing His will, a violation of His law, a contemning His authority, a despising of His sovereignty and dominion, a defacing His image, and resisting His spirit, abuse of His patience, and a slighting of all His love, mercy, and goodness.

3. Sin is a great debt, because all men, yea, all the saints of the earth, nor angels of heaven can pay this debt.

4. Sin is a vast debt, because it exposes the sinner to eternal wrath and vengeance.

(Benjamin Keach.)

1. By owing money.

2. By being a trespasser, offender, or guilty person.

3. By robbery of a man's goods or good name.

4. By violating a covenant.

5. By receiving kindnesses. He owes the debt of gratitude and thankfulness.

(Benjamin Keach.)

1. In their unwillingness to be called to account.

2. Attended with shame.

3. They have many shifts and delays.

4. Do not like to meet their creditor.

5. Continually afraid of arrest.

(Benjamin Keach.)

There is nothing that makes a man so unlike to God, as a hard heart; without pity, without patience. In the tabernacle, the doors of the sanctum santorum were of olive-wood (1 Kings 6:31); which is the hieroglyphic of mercy: but the gates of that fearful dungeon, which is hell, are said to be of brass and iron; "He hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder" (Psalm 107:16); the signs of hard hearts and instruments of destruction. Which serves to show, that the way to hell is by inhumanity; to heaven, by pity. Of all the passions in us, compassion is the best; and a man without this tenderness, is but the statue of a man; a mere stone in a human figure. The very stones will seem to weep, when foul weather is a-coming; and as if they had been once so full of sorrow for Christ's sufferings, that their solid breasts could no longer contain it, they brake in pieces. There be men harder than stones, that have hearts more impenetrable, obdurate, and unrelenting, and less capable of remorse; nay, instead of pitying the wounds of the miserable, they make those miserable wounds.

(T. Adams.)

The fate of the unmerciful servant tells us in the plainest language that the mere cancelling of our guilt does not save us. It tells us that unless the forgiveness of God humbles us, and begets within us a truly meek and loving spirit, we cannot be owned as His children. The best assurance that we are ourselves forgiven is the consciousness that the very spirit of the forgiving God is working in our own hearts towards others.

(Marcus Dods.)

Forgiveness is cheaper than revenge, and is sweeter and more valuable. Prudence. as well as piety, counsels quiet to men under reproof or reproach. If a bee stings you, will you go to the hive and destroy it? Would not a thousand come upon you? If you receive a trifling injury, don't be anxious to avenge it. Let it drop. It is wisdom to say little respecting the injuries you have received. When enemies see they have hit you they know where to strike next time, while if you show no signs of disquiet, they think their stroke must have missed its mark. Lie quiet, and you will be likely to be let alone.

(H. L. Hastings.)

Note —

I. THE GREAT GOODNESS AND CLEMENCY OF GOD. Delay was asked for, and remission was given. How great the love; the gift exceeds the petition.

II. THE GREAT POWER OF HUMILITY. The servant kneeled down and prayed in a few simple words, and he was forgiven his debt. Certain lions spare a prey that prostrates itself before them.

III. THE PUNISHMENT IS ONE THING, THE FAULT IS ANOTHER. There is a freeing from the dominion of Satan, and then there is a remission of the punishment. Two distinct acts. Absalom was pardoned, yet he was not admitted to David's presence (2 Samuel 14:28).


V. The NEED WE HAVE TO FORGIVE INJURIES. Like our blessed Lord and St. Stephen, we must pray for our murderers.

(From the Latin.)

I. THE SUBLIMITY OF THE JUDICIAL CONDITION. "A certain king," endowed with the highest powers, will be our judge — Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:16). His three attributes are —

1. Infallible knowledge.

2. Inflexible justice.

3. Invincible power.Hence He is to be greatly feared (Jeremiah 10:7).

II. THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF FINAL AVOIDANCE — "which would take account."

III. THE NECESSITY OF OBEDIENT SUBJECTION. "Servants," implying total subjection to Him (Leviticus 19:37).

(From the Latin.)

God is our great creditor on account —

I. OF ORIGINAL SIN (Ephesians 2:3).

II. Of ACTUAL sin (Isaiah 59:2).

III. Of OBEDIENCE by natural and Divine law (Romans 2:14, 15).

1. Natural. God is our creator (Acts 17:28). Jesus Christ is our Redeemer.

2. Divine. He is our King (Romans 13:1). We are His spiritual subjects and followers.

IV. OF GRATITUDE FOR ALL BLESSINGS. Temporal and spiritual (1 Corinthians 12:6-11).

V. OF EARNEST LOVE FOR ANY GOOD WHICH WE MAY HAVE DONE. To Him be all the praise and honour (Psalm 115:1).

(From the Latin.)

The torment of this place of tormentors (Matthew 25:30), arises from —

I. THE HOPELESSNESS OF ESCAPE. The imprisonment here knows no end (Matthew 3:12; Matthew 25:46; Isaiah 66:24).


III. THE UNCEASING TORMENT. Never any relief; not a moment's ease or forgetfulness (Revelation 14:11).

IV. THE WEARINESS AND PAIN OF BEING. A wakeful night seems multiplied into three. The same round, or rather, unvarying sameness, which makes an agony of itself.

V. THE SPECTATORS OF THIS WRETCHEDNESS (Revelation 14:10; Revelation 6:16, 17). This formed the agony of Samson (Judges 16:27, 28). It carries shame here; it will increase the agony of hereafter.

(From the Latin.)

Let us consider the nature of our debt.

I. To GOD. Pay the debt of



(3)Fear; for He is Lord of all.

II. To OURSELVES. Pay thy debt of(1) Love; we ought to love ourselves since God loves us, and we ought to obey the commandment of love — to love ourselves; not in and for ourselves, but as in and belonging to God.(2) Care; we ought to guard and preserve ourselves from dangers ghostly and bodily. Hence the gift of reason to defend and protect the course of life.(3) Salvation (Philippians 2:12; Ecclesiastes 9:10).

III. To our NEIGHBOUR. Pay thy debt of(1) Love (Matthew 19:19), dealing with him as with thyself.(2) Instruction; if he wander, seek to lead him back into the paths of righteousness (Matthew 18:15; James 5:20).(3) Help and succour (1 John 3:17, 18; Isaiah 53:7). Epilogue.

1. Husband and discipline every resource.

2. Strive and pray honestly to meet this triple debt.

(From the Latin.)What contrasts are here!

I. God, the King of kings, towards a servant; and again, a servant towards his fellow-servant.

II. An infinite debt, and again, a small debt.

III. Impossibility and inability; and again, possibility and ability.

IV. Compassion and kindness; and again, hardheartedness and cruel behaviour.


This "servant," or "minister," must have been some high functionary of state, who manipulated the revenues of provinces. He represents the sinner — every sinner. The debt for which every sinner is accountable, or liable, to God is enormous. It is not easy to determine exactly what was the value of the Hebrew talent. It contained 3,000 shekels of the sanctuary, and is supposed by some to have corresponded exactly to the Greek AEginetan talent, which exceeded the common Attic commercial talent. This common Attic talent is estimated by Boeckh as equivalent to 1,375 German thalers. Taking the German thaler as equivalent to 3s. sterling, a single Attic talent would amount to a little above £200; so then ten thousand talents would be something more than £2,000,000 sterling, an immense sum. more especially in those ancient times, when the relation of bullion to commodities was such that the prices of commodities in bullion were far smaller relatively than now. with our vast importations of gold from America and Australia. This immense sum, almost; baffling ordinary conception, represents the sinner's spiritual debt or guilt.

(J. Morison, D.D.)

Jesus, Peter
Account, Accounts, Bondmen, Cause, Compared, Determined, Heaven, Heavens, Kingdom, Likened, Reason, Reckon, Reckoning, Reconcile, Reign, Servants, Settle, Settlement, Slaves, Wanted, Wished
1. Jesus warns his disciples to be humble and harmless,
7. to avoid offenses,
10. and not to despise the little ones;
15. teaches how we are to deal with our brothers when they offend us,
21. and how often to forgive them;
23. which he sets forth by a parable of the king who took account of his servants,
32. and punished him who showed no mercy to his fellow servant.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 18:23

     5503   rich, the
     8343   servanthood, in society

Matthew 18:21-35

     1620   beatitudes, the
     5260   coinage
     6021   sin, nature of

Matthew 18:23-25

     5233   borrowing
     5447   poverty, causes

Matthew 18:23-27

     5274   credit

Matthew 18:23-30

     5524   servants, bad

Matthew 18:23-35

     5438   parables
     6654   forgiveness, Christ's ministry
     8658   Lord's Prayer

May 31. "Whosoever Therefore Shall Humble Himself as this Little Child" (Matt. xviii. 4).
"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child" (Matt. xviii. 4). You will never get a humble heart until it is born from above, from the heart of Christ. For man has lost his own humanity and alas, too often has a demon heart. God wants us, as Christians, to be simple, human, approachable and childlike. The Christians that we know and love best, and that are nearest to the Lord, are the most simple. Whenever we grow stilted we are only fit for a picture gallery, and we are only good
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Lost Sheep and the Seeking Shepherd
If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth Into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray!--MATT. xviii. 12. We find this simple parable, or germ of a parable, in a somewhat more expanded form, as the first of the incomparable three in the fifteenth chapter of Luke's Gospel. Perhaps our Lord repeated the parable more than once. It is an unveiling of His inmost heart, and therein a revelation of the very heart of God.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Persistence of Thwarted Love
'If so be that he find it.'--MATT. xviii. 13. 'Until he find it.'--LUKE xv. 4. Like other teachers, Jesus seems to have had favourite points of view and utterances which came naturally to His lips. There are several instances in the gospels of His repeating the same sayings in entirely different connections and with different applications. One of these habitual points of view seems to have been the thought of men as wandering sheep, and of Himself as the Shepherd. The metaphor has become so familiar
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Forgiven and Unforgiving
'Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times; but, Until seventy times seven.' --MATT. xviii. 22. The disciples had been squabbling about pre-eminence in the kingdom which they thought was presently to appear. They had ventured to refer their selfish and ambitious dispute to Christ's arbitrament. He answered by telling them the qualifications of 'the greatest in the kingdom'--that they are to be humble like little children; that they are to be placable; that they are to use all means
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Law of Precedence in the Kingdom
'At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2. And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, 3. And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Six Sweeping Statements.
Jesus' own words make this very clear. There are two groups of teachings on prayer in those three and a half years as given by the gospel records. The first of these groups is in the Sermon on the Mount which Jesus preached about half-way through the second year of His ministry. The second group comes sheer at the end. All of it is in the last six months, and most of it in the last ten days, and much of that on the very eve of that last tragic day. It is after the sharp rupture with the leaders that
S. D. (Samuel Dickey) Gordon—Quiet Talks on Prayer

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xviii. 15, "If Thy Brother Sin against Thee, Go, Shew Him his Fault Between Thee and Him Alone;" And
1. Our Lord warns us not to neglect one another's sins, not by searching out what to find fault with, but by looking out for what to amend. For He said that his eye is sharp to cast out a mote out of his brother's eye, who has not a beam in his own eye. Now what this means, I will briefly convey to you, Beloved. A mote in the eye is anger; a beam in the eye is hatred. When therefore one who has hatred finds fault with one who is angry, he wishes to take a mote out of his brother's eye, but is hindered
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xviii. 7, Where we are Admonished to Beware of the Offences of the World.
1. The divine lessons, which we have just heard as they were being read, warn us to gather in a stock of virtues, to fortify a Christian heart, against the offences which were predicted to come, and this from the mercy of the Lord. "For what is man," saith Scripture, "saving that Thou art mindful of him?" [2694] "Woe unto the world because of offences," [2695] saith the Lord; the Truth says so; He alarmeth and warneth us, He would not have us to be off our guard; for surely He would not make us desperate.
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

The Forgiveness of Sins.
(Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity.) S. MATTHEW xviii. 28, "Pay me that thou owest." The Gospel shows us in a parable a picture of a king who called his servants to a reckoning. That King is the Lord God Almighty. We are His servants, and He calls us to account every day. All we possess we owe as a debt to God. Day by day He gives us our food, and supplies our wants by His good Providence. On every hour of our existence is written, Jehovah-Jireh--The Lord will provide. Day by day God takes
H. J. Wilmot-Buxton—The Life of Duty, a Year's Plain Sermons, v. 2

Fourth Day. Forgiveness of Injuries.
"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."--Luke, xxiii. 34. Many a death-struggle has been made to save a friend. A dying Saviour gathers up His expiring breath to plead for His foes! At the climax of His own woe, and of human ingratitude--man-forsaken, and God-deserted--His faltering voice mingles with the shout of His murderers,--"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do!" Had the faithless Peter been there, could he have wondered at the reply to a former
John R. Macduff—The Mind of Jesus

Lix. The Preacher and his Hearers.
22nd Sunday after Trinity. S. Matthew xviii. 23. "The kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants." INTRODUCTION.--I have been a good deal abroad, over the Continent of Europe, and whenever I am in a little country inn, I make a point of going into the room where the men are smoking and drinking wine or beer, and hearing their opinions on the politics of the day, and of their country. Now, my experience tells me that in country taverns in France, and
S. Baring-Gould—The Village Pulpit, Volume II. Trinity to Advent

The Wicked Servant
ST. MATTHEW xviii. 23. The kingdom of heaven is likened to a certain king, which would take account of his servants. This parable, which you heard in the Gospel for this day, you all know. And I doubt not that all you who know it, understand it well enough. It is so human and so humane; it is told with such simplicity, and yet with such force and brilliancy that--if one dare praise our Lord's words as we praise the words of men--all must see its meaning at once, though it speaks of a state of
Charles Kingsley—The Water of Life and Other Sermons

Meetings for Prayer.
Text.--"Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven."--Matthew xviii. 19. HITHERTO, in treating of the subject of Prayer, I have confined my remarks to secret prayer. I am now to speak of social prayer, or prayer offered in company, where two or more are united in praying. Such meetings have been common from the time of Christ, and even hundreds of years before. And it is probable
Charles Grandison Finney—Lectures on Revivals of Religion

The Necessity and Effect of Union.
Text.--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.--Matthew xviii. 19. SOME weeks since, I used this text, in preaching on the subject of prayer meetings. At present I design to enter more into the spirit and meaning of the text. The evident design of our Lord in this text was to teach the importance and influence of union in prayer and effort to promote religion. He states the
Charles Grandison Finney—Lectures on Revivals of Religion

The Mission of Little Children
"And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them." Matthew xviii.2. Everything has its mission. I speak not now of the office which each part of the great universe discharges. I speak not of the relation between these parts,--that beautiful ordinance by which the whole is linked together in one common life, by which the greatest is dependent upon the least, and the least shares in the benefactions of the greatest. In this sense, everything has, strictly, its mission.
E. H. Chapin—The Crown of Thorns

False Ambition Versus Childlikeness.
(Capernaum, Autumn, a.d. 29.) ^A Matt. XVIII. 1-14; ^B Mark IX. 33-50; ^C Luke IX. 46-50. ^c 46 And there arose a reasoning among them, which of them was the greatest. ^b 33 And he came to Capernaum: ^c 47 But when Jesus saw the reasoning of their heart, ^b and when he was in the house [probably Simon Peter's house] he asked them, What were ye reasoning on the way? 34 But they held their peace: for they had disputed one with another on the way, who was the greatest. [The Lord with his disciples was
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Sin and Forgiveness Between Brethren.
(Autumn, a.d. 29.) ^A Matt. XVIII. 15-35. ^a 15 And if thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. [Having warned against giving offense, Jesus now shows how to act when offense is received. The fault is to be pointed out to the offender, but for the purpose of gaining him--not from a desire to humiliate him. The offended is to seek the offender, and the offender is likewise to seek the offended (Matt. xv. 23, 24),
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Unmerciful Servant.
"Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 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. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved
William Arnot—The Parables of Our Lord

Jesus Christ, the Divine Teacher of Prayer
A friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him! He knocks again. "Friend! lend me three loaves?" He waits a while and then knocks again. "Friend! I must have three loaves!" "Trouble me not: the door is now shut; I cannot rise and give thee!" He stands still. He turns to go home. He comes back. He knocks again. "Friend!" he cries. He puts his ear to the door. There is a sound inside, and then the light of a candle shines through the hole of the door. The bars of
Edward M. Bounds—The Reality of Prayer

Fifteenth Lesson. If Two Agree
If two agree;' Or, The Power of United Prayer 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. For where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them.--Matt. xviii. 19, 20. ONE of the first lessons of our Lord in His school of prayer was: Not to be seen of men. Enter thy inner chamber; be alone with the Father. When He has thus taught us that the
Andrew Murray—With Christ in the School of Prayer

The Third Wall.
The third wall falls of itself, as soon as the first two have fallen; for if the Pope acts contrary to the Scriptures, we are bound to stand by the Scriptures, to punish and to constrain him, according to Christ's commandment; "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. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every
Martin Luther—First Principles of the Reformation

Gerhard Ter Steegen Matt. xviii. 12 O God, through Christ the living way, My Father and my God, So near, and I so far astray, Brought nigh Thee by His Blood. Myself, and this, and that, I sought Behind, around, before-- And yet the nearest found I not, Until I sought no more. O Love, Thou deep eternal tide, How dear are men to Thee! The Father's heart is opened wide By Jesus' Blood to me. It was Thyself, O God, who sought, With tender yearnings deep, The loveless sould who sought Thee not, The
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others

The School
Gerhard Ter Steegen Matt. xviii. 3 Where is the school for each and all, Where men become as children small, And little ones are great? Where love is all the task and rule, The fee our all, and all at school, Small, poor, of low estate? Where to unlearn all things I learn, From self and from all others turn, One Master hear and see? I learn and do one thing alone, And wholly give myself to One Who gives Himself to me. My task, possessing nought, to give; No life to have, yet ever live-- And ever
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others

Commentary on Matthew. Introduction.
According to Eusebius (H. E. vi. 36) the Commentaries on the Gospel of Matthew were written about the same time as the Contra Celsum, when Origen was over sixty years of age, and may therefore be probably assigned to the period 246-248. This statement is confirmed by internal evidence. In the portion here translated, books x.-xiv., he passes by the verses Matt. xviii. 12, 13, and refers for the exposition of them to his Homilies on Luke (book xiii. 29). Elsewhere, he refers his readers for a fuller
Origen—Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew

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