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Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Authority of Two or Three

MT18:18 “I tell you[1] [apostles] this truth: Whatever you [apostles] bind on earth will be bound in heaven,[2] and whatever you release[3] on earth will be released in heaven. MT18:19 Again, I tell you [apostles][4] this truth: If two of you might agree about a matter on earth[5] it will occur just as you request[6] because of my heavenly Father. MT18:20 For where ever two or three of you are gathered together[7] in my name,[8] there I am among them.”[9]

*

[1] I tell you: The “you” is plural and indicates Jesus is speaking to the apostles. What follows is directed to these disciples and not necessarily a blanket statement regarding all Christians.

[2] Bind on earth will be bound in heaven: The phrase may involve the sin of the brother under discussion. If two or three (of the apostles) agree on a certain action against a wrongdoer, then it becomes so. An example of binding something on earth might be the appointment of Matthias to take the office of Judas (Acts 1:23-26). The Greek grammar may allow, “already bound.. already loosed.”

[3] Whatever you release: The Greek is LYSETE and may be rendered “loose.” The idea may infer forgiveness. Compare notes on Matthew 16:19. There the context deals with the Peter’s keys. If these be viewed as three and relate to the Jews, Samaritans, and Non-Jews, then as long as the door to the Samaritans and Non-Jews remains closed and locked, it is so in heaven. Jesus authorized his apostles to forgive sins (John 20:23). Later Paul writes that the Corinthian congregation “forgive” the incestuous sinner (2 Corinthians 2:7).

[4] I tell you [apostles]: The Greek “you” is plural and is directed to the twelve disciples.

[5] If two of you might agree about a matter on earth: If two apostles agree. Or, RIEU: if any two of you on earth agree in making any prayer; MON: if two of you on earth symphonize your praying. The words “might agree” are from the Greek SYMPHONESOSIN.

[6] It will occur just as you request: Or, RHM: it shall be brought to pass; KNX: it will be granted; NOR: my heavenly Father will answer your prayer.

[7] Two or three of you are gathered together: This is “two or three” of the apostles met in important matters of the Church. Or, WMS: wherever two or three have met as my disciples. The words “gathered together” are from a word related to “synagogue.” These may be official synods or congregational meetings. Compare 1 Corinthians 5:4; James 2:2. Note how Peter and John go to Samaria to request they receive the Pneuma (Acts 8:14, 15).

[8] In my name: Or, GDSP: as my followers; WMS: as my disciples. Note it is in the name of “Jesus” and not his Father “Jehovah.” The phrase may also mean something authorized by the person so named.

[9] I am among them: Or, WMS: I am right there with them. See notes on Matthew 28:20.

 

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Preceding

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

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Related

  1. A Majority
  2. Matthew 18:19 and Prayer
  3. Benefits of Being Alone With God
  4. Morning Prayer for Thursday, November 29, 2018 — “I pray that I may be loyal to God and to others.”
  5. God’s Word at work in our world
  6. Strength in Numbers
  7. How Shall They Believe
  8. What are you waiting for?

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:15-17 – Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

|| Luke 17:3

MT18:15 “However, if your brother[1] should sin[2] go to him privately and offer reproof.[3] You gain your brother if he listens to you. MT18:16 But, if he does not listen to you,[4] return with one or two others[5] so that at the mouth of two or three witnesses[6] [Deuteronomy 19:15] anything said may be confirmed.[7] MT18:17 Now if he refuses to respond[8] to the witnesses, speak to the congregation.[9] But, if he refuses to listen to the congregation,[10] let him become to you as a foreigner or a tax-collector.[11]

*

[1] Your brother: The “your” is singular. The word “brother” indicates a spiritual or religious relationship. The subject or theme is still that of stumbling a little one. Jesus now deals with how to handle such a matter personally.

[2] Should sin: What the “sin” is we are not told. We do not know whether this is a personal offense or one observed by another. If the theme and subject continue this may be something scandalous or offensive done to a little one so as to cause stumbling. Such a person – in danger of Gehenna – needs to be cautioned and corrected so that no further harm come to others. The KJV adds the words “sin against thee” but it is now recognized they are not adequately supported by older manuscripts. Note the responsibility under the Law to reprove a fellow worshipper (Leviticus 19:17; Proverbs 25:9).

[3] Go to him privately and offer reproof: Or, ASV: show him his fault; RIEU: go and have it out with him in private; RHM: withdraw, convince him betwixt thee and him alone; BAS: make clear to him his error between you and him in private. The original question from the disciples was, “Who is greatest?” This is a subject that has been discussed among the disciples. Is it possible this kind of thinking which is called a sin here? Is there a need among the disciples for one of them to go to another and offer reproof regarding this political ambition? We suspect Judas Iscariot right in the middle of such a concern. The Greek for “reprove” here is ELEGZON. Strong’s provides the following: “AV – reprove 6, rebuke 5, convince 4, tell (one’s) fault 1, convict 1; 17 1) to convict, refute, confute 1a) generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted 1b) by conviction to bring to the light, to expose 2) to find fault with, correct 2a) by word 2a1) to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove 2a2) to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation 2b) by deed 2b1) to chasten, to punish.”

[4] Does not listen to you: Or, KJV: if he will not hear thee; RIEU: if he refuses to listen. The reproof has not worked in the first instance. Perhaps the person insists he does not have this problem despite the rebuke.

[5] Return with one or two others: Or, RIEU: call in one or two other people. Ideally these would have been witnesses to the “sin.” As observers they can confirm to the erring one that he is indeed guilty. Also, they become witnesses to the whole conversation and the effort to gain the brother. This would be the first time the correcting brother discussed the matter with others.

[6] Mouth of two or three witnesses: This is a reference to Deuteronomy 19:15. Jesus also quotes it at John 8:17 and Paul alludes to it at 2 Corinthians 13:1.

[7] Anything said may be confirmed: Or, KJV: every word may be established; RSV: every word may be confirmed. The two or three witnesses confirm the attitude and the denial of sin.

[8] Now if he refuses to respond: Or, KJV: if he shall neglect to hear them; RHM: hear them amiss; RIEU: if he pays no attention to these.

[9] Speak to the congregation: There are a variety of views here. To these Jews the “congregation” would be the members of the synagogue. The “congregation” may also be that one Jesus said he would build (see notes at Matthew 16:18). Also, some hold “congregation” here means the elders who represent it; others, see the entire congregation. There are good reasons for the later. Paul indicates that the sinner in the Corinthian congregation was judged so by “the majority.” (2 Corinthians 2:6 NW, CON) This would indicate a vote of some kind. Paul also counsels that elders who sin should be rebuked before the entire congregation (1 Timothy 5:20). Others render this phrase: KJV: tell it unto the church; RHM: tell it to the assembly; RIEU: report the matter to the church.

[10] If he refuses to listen to the congregation: This is his last chance. He was reproved by a single brother, then two more tried, and now the congregation has tried, but he still refuses to recognize his sin, repent and turn around. Every opportunity has been given the sinner.

[11] Let him become to you as a foreigner or a tax-collector: Again there are a variety of views on the meaning. Others render this: KJV: as an heathen man and a publican; RSV: as a Gentile and a tax-collector; NEB: a pagan or a tax-gatherer. If the “you” be viewed as a Jew then the sinning brother is no longer welcome in social association though business dealings may continue. If the “you” is a disciple of the Nazarene then the commands of Jesus must be considered. Jesus taught his disciples to “love their enemies” by praying for them, doing good to them, and even giving them money without interest (See notes on Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:30-35).

Three times Paul uses the word SYNANAMIGNYSTHAI (quit mixing yourselves with) (1 Corinthians 5:9, 11; 2 Thessalonians 3:14, 15). The later verse clarifies the whole matter when it says: “But if anyone is not obedient to our word through this letter, keep this one marked, stop associating with him, that he may become ashamed. And yet do not be considering him as an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother.”

We may also ask how our Lord treated Non-Jews and tax-collectors? See notes on Matthew 9:10, 11; 11:19; 15:21-27.

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Preceding

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

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Related

  1. His Compassion
  2. Great Verses of the Bible: Matt 18:15
  3. “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” ~Religious elites to Jesus disciples
  4. Correction And Discipline Of Other Believers
  5. When Christians Foolishly Speak For Others
  6. About organized religion
  7. The Spiritual Warfare Error
  8. The Error of Not Confronting Error
  9. Be Reconciled

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:12-14 – Searching for the Lost Sheep Who Stumbled

|| Luke 15:3-7

MT18:12 “How does it seem to you?[1] If a shepherd[2] had one hundred sheep and one strayed, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills[3] and seek out the straying sheep? MT18:13 I tell you this truth: When he finds it he is happier[4] over the one sheep than the ninety-nine who had not strayed. MT18:14 And so, it is not my heavenly Father’s will[5] that even one of these little ones perish.[6]

*

[1] How does it seem to you: Or, KJV: how think ye; KNX: tell me this. The “you” is plural referring to all the disciples.

[2] Shepherd: Literally, “man.”

[3] Hills: Or, “mountains.”

[4] Happier: Or, MON: rejoices.

[5] It is not my heavenly Father’s will: Or, RHM: thus there is no desire in the presence of my Father; PME: you can understand then that it is never the will of your Father.

[6] Even one of these little ones perish: Or, RHM: should be lost. Note this is how the Father feels about the ‘little ones’. It is God’s will than none perish though the possibility of a little one being stumbled is there and thus the severity of the warning to those who would stumble others.

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Preceding

Matthew 10:16-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Forth as Sheep among Wolves

Matthew 12:9-21 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Is It Lawful to Cure on the Sabbath?

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

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Additional reading

  1. His Life for the Sheep
  2. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  3. This is an amazing thing
  4. Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

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Related posts

  1. Prayer and Meditation for Tuesday, November 20, 2018 — “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
  2. Lost and Found
  3. Daily Mass: God seeks what is lost and rejoices when it is found. Catholic Inspiration
  4. Loving the One
  5. Sitting with the 99
  6. Jeremiah 39:1-14: Remaining Among the People

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Danger of Stumbling-blocks

|| Mark 9:37, 42; Luke 9:48; Luke 17:1, 2

MT18:7 “Woe to the world’s inevitable stumbling-blocks![1] But, woe to the person who causes the stumbling![2] MT18:8 So, if your hand or foot[3] scandalizes[4] you – cut it off and hurl it away[5] from you. Better to enter Life maimed[6] rather than be thrown into everlasting fire[7] with two hands and two feet! MT18:9 Also, if your eye[8] causes you scandal, remove it and hurl it away from you. Better to enter Life with only one eye rather than be hurled into Gehenna’s[9] fire with two eyes! MT18:10 Watch[10] that you never despise[11] one of these ‘little ones’. For I tell you that their angels in heaven[12] always look upon the face[13] of my heavenly Father.” MT18:11 [[“For the Son of Humankind came to save what was lost.”]][14]

*

[1] Woe to the world’s inevitable stumbling-blocks: The Greek for “stumbling-blocks” is SCANDALON. Or, KJV: woe unto the world because of offenses; ASV: occasions of stumbling; RSV: temptations to sin; KNX: hurt done to consciences; WMS: influences to do wrong. Research the words world or KOSMOS for notes.

[2] Causes the stumbling: Research the word scandal for notes. What may cause “stumbling”? See Matthew 16:23 for an example. Compare 1 Samuel 25:31; Ezekiel 7:19, 20; 14:3, 4; Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 8:9; Revelation 2:14. Many will quote Psalm 119:165 here but it is wise to discern the meaning.

[3] Hand or foot: Eve’s foot took her to the Tree and her hand reached out for its Fruit (Genesis 3:5, 6). Touch must be avoided if the object is desirable (1 Corinthians 7:1; James 1:14, 15). The feet must avoid those places that can cause scandal (Psalm 119:59, 101; Proverbs 1:16; Proverbs 4:26, 27; Proverbs 5:5; Proverbs 19:2; Romans 3:15). The word “your” is in the singular and so the Nazarene speaks to one person in the group.

[4] Scandalizes: This is closest to the Greek word. The English “scandal” is from a Greek root to “snare” and may mean: offends, shocks, disgraces; and, that slanderous gossip caused by such an offense. Research scandal for more notes.

[5] Cut it off and hurl it away: The absurdum is famous. The very imagery of people cutting off limbs and gouging out eyes is powerful and yet almost humorous for it is clearly not to be taken literally. The lesson is to remove the movement in the direction of the desire, by foot or touch. Avoid those situations and circumstances that will create scandal. See notes on Matthew 5:29. Compare and meditate upon Colossians 3:5.

[6] Better to enter Life maimed: The idea is not to be taken literally but is a contrast so simple anyone can grasp the point: any sacrifice is worth attaining “Life.” Mark 9:47 adds, “… into the kingdom of God.” “Life” here is existence in the Father’s Kingdom (see notes on Matthew 13:43).

[7] Into everlasting fire: Or, KJV: everlasting fire; ASV: eternal fire; RHM: age-abiding fire. We believe the metaphors continue as Gehenna is a symbol of destruction without end. Research the words HADES or GEHENNA for notes elsewhere. See notes on Matthew 25:41, 46.

[8] Your eye: It is the eye that desires. To Eve the Tree was “desirable to look upon.” The Proverbs counsels the young and inexperienced to be careful at what the eyes behold (Proverbs 4:25). Read and meditate upon 1 John 2:15-17. It is not called “a wandering eye” for nothing. The eye is the engine of coveting.

[9] Gehenna’s: Research the word GEHENNA and HADES for notes on the subject.

[10] Watch: The Greek is OPATE from the root for “eye.” There is a good way to use the eyes. Or, KJV: take heed; KNX: see to it; WMS: be careful not to look.

[11] Never despise: Or, KJV: despise not; KNX: treat one… with contempt; WMS: look with scorn. Our attitude toward others in the spiritual association bears on our own everlasting welfare.

[12] Their angels in heaven: At once frightening, and again comforting, to know powerful angelic creatures are aware of the treatment (or even attitude) on the part of the politically ambitious toward the humblest member of the Christian faith. Compare Psalm 34:7 and Hebrews 1:14. Note: it is the “little ones” who have angels in heaven.

[13] Always look upon the face: Or, KJV: always behold the face; RHM: continually behold; WMS: have uninterrupted access to. Consider the visions in Daniel 7 and Revelation 4 (Luke 1:19).

[14] [[…]]: Now recognized as not adequately supported by some manuscripts (D, W, Vg, Syc,p, Arm add; א, B, Sys omit).

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:27-30 – 2. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:14

Matthew 11:2-6 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 2 Imprisoned Baptist Encouraged

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Paying vows to Jehovah God

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Additional reading

  1. It´s not how you fall, but how you standup
  2. Temptation in matrimony

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Further reading

  1. Stumbling
  2. Doubtful disputations – spiritual wickedness

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

It is not easy to be humble. We all like to be some one and to accomplish something worthwhile in life.

When leaving our childhood behind the innocence goes with it as well. Most little children are guided from the family and their surroundings and learn the facts of life when passing from one year into an other. Every year people also come up with new good intentions. Every year anew we want to do it better and have it better than the previous year.

From the teachings of Jesus we learn that the Realm of heaven is among those people that are humble. We must know that those people who follow the teachings of the Nazarene master teacher are willing to change their paths. They are feeling to proud not to show their weaknesses and not telling what they did wrong. They are aware of their weaknesses and of their wrong doings or sinful ways. But they are prepared to learn and to follow God’s will.

We should know that humility is the gateway to the heaven realm. When wanting to become a member of that Body of Christ, we should not mind becoming like a child again. Our baptism is not an end point, but just a starting point in our becoming a Christian. It shall take time and we do have to give it time. Patience shall be very important to our growth, to make it a successful growth.

Having been baptised the “newborn” Christian shall have to be willing to learn everything like a child has to learn everything. He or she shall need to read God’s Words, the Bible, and have their faith being strengthened. Luckily they do not have to be alone. Because there is the congregation of brethren and sisters, who should be there to help. We are also not alone, for God has sent the Comforter to lead us to know the truth. That Holy Spirit should be our guide. We may never forget that incredible Power of God, Which is there for every person who wants to have that Power entering his or her spirit.

Being ‘Born again’ means having received an other or new “I”. It is about a “Turning Point” a new and other direction to be taken. When you commit yourself to your baptism and becoming a member of a ‘church’ or ‘ecclesia’ you are indicating your willingness to change your own direction and starting fresh as though you are being born all over again. At that point you want to start a new voyage, being fresh, receptive, and pliable. The metaphor Jesus is using is indicating we have to become like a malleable, receptive child for aligning with the kingdom of God.

When we keep our pride we shall not be enough pliable to adapt to our new community where we shall have to take a place like anybody else, offering to do whatever is needed in the community. We shall have to accept our ageing and sometimes not being able to do certain things, but also the other way round having respect for elder people or for those (young and old) who have more experience in the religious and ecclesial matters.

As newborn one it is important to become feeling like a brother or sister of the others. There also has to be a willingness to be submissive to the religious group as a whole and to be a bringer of peace, unity, and sweet accord. Naturally there must be a willingness to follow the Scriptural process of settling offences and an impartiality in the exercise of discipline.

There is no place in the group for inequality. Everybody should be regarded as equal and having the same rights, but also the same duties. as such one day a person can be the speaker, the next time the listener. By the baptism a person is brought into membership which confers the right to join in taking the emblems, but also to serve in the community. Taking part of the emblems is reserved only for those who are baptised and member of the world-wide community. Our community may be small, because we require that a person who want to be part of the brotherhood has real knowledge of the biblical truth and is willing to be a faithful partaker of the body of Christ. As followers of the early church we too ask the same effort and responsibility as the first Christians. Being part of a church demands willingness for “making church”, spreading the love of Christ, with giving, serving, witnessing and seeking to be a blessing to other.

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Preceding

Man enticed to long for more

Matthew 7:1-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Neighbor Love Continued 8: Matthew 7:6-11 Giving and neighbor love

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

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Additional reading

  1. Looking at things, distinctions resolutions and expressions
  2. Counting sands and stars
  3. A New Year and a New Person
  4. Not missing your appointment in 2017
  5. Helping each other with prayer to start the new academic year
  6. Today’s thought “A New Year” (January 01)
  7. Today’s thought “A Perfect World” (January 02)
  8. More on Grace and Spiritual Fruit – Abide in Me, and I in you
  9. Unless I wash you, you have no part with me
  10. the Bible – God’s guide for life #8 Looking to Jesus #1 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus
  11. Certain Catholics claiming that the power of the priest is equal to that of Jesus Christ
  12. Consecration of the priests
  13. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  14. Full text of Pope Francis’ Interview with ‘La Vanguardia’
  15. Don’t Harden Your Heart
  16. It’s not that I’m so smart
  17. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God
  18. Humility
  19. Willing to be little
  20. Humility and the Fear of the Lord
  21. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  22. A man who cannot forgive others
  23. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  24. There is no true and constant gentleness without humility
  25. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  26. Suffering redemptive because Jesus redeemed us from sin
  27. Be kinder than necessary
  28. Heed of the Saviour
  29. A Ransom for all 3 Seeing Him as He is
  30. When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation
  31. Atonement And Fellowship 7/8
  32. Praise the New Born
  33. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  34. Victory in rebirth
  35. Get Your Wonderful Disease-proof Human Body
  36. Women, conservative evangelicals and their counter-offensive
  37. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  38. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything
  39. The works we have to do according to James

 

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Related

  1. Be Humble Like A Little Child
  2. How Do We Become Part of the Kingdom of God?
  3. Make your membership count for something
  4. Duties of the Church Member
  5. A Vision for our Future
  6. Who am I?
  7. Jesus Born Anywhere
  8. Bethlehem In Us
  9. What If Jesus Were Your Dad: You Must Be Raised Again
  10. Die First, Then be Church
  11. Born of Him: 1st John 2:29
  12. Receiving the True Light
  13. Life in the spirit realm 2

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN:
HUMILITY, SETTLING PROBLEMS, AND FORGIVENESS

[“Kingdom Children and Heart Forgiveness”]
(Key word: Forgive)

Matthew 18:1-6 – Children and Stumbling

|| Mark 9:33-36; Luke 9:46-48

MT18:1 In that hour the disciples approached Jesus, asking, “In reality, who is the greatest[1] in the Realm of Heaven?”[2] MT18:2 Having called a little boy[3] to stand among them, MT18:3 Jesus said: “I tell you this truth: If you never turn around[4] and become little boys[5] you will never gain entrance into the Realm of Heaven.[6] MT18:4 So, whoever will be humble as this little boy[7] – that person is the ‘greatest’ in the Realm of Heaven.[8] MT18:5 Also, anyone who accepts one of these[9] ‘little boys’ in my name[10] accepts me. MT18:6 But, whoever stumbles[11] one of these little ones who believes in me – it would be better[12] if he hanged a millstone[13] around his neck and sank into the ocean depths.[14]

*

[1] Who is the greatest: It amazes us that they would even ask this question. However, though some today may not ask the question, attitudes and conduct expose a similar bent of mind: political ambition. This is the first time the subject comes up, but it is not the last. Compare Matthew 23:11; Luke 9:46; Luke 22:24, 26. There was a petty struggle among the disciples about their position in relation to one another, even, unfortunately, as among church elders and deacons today. It is unlikely the problem will disappear. However, all those men who have been appointed to a position of authority need to heed the warning of the Nazarene that follows: the disastrous matter of stumbling the humblest of the flock.

[2] Realm of Heaven: We have to speculate what “kingdom of the heavens” the disciples had in mind. Jesus often uses the phrase “Realm of Heaven” for what could be called “church membership” or “the realm of profession.” This does not mean the phrase could not also include that ultimate goal of the celestial realms where God Himself resides. Research the word Realm or kingdom for notes elsewhere.

[3] A little boy: The Greek is PAIDION and means “little boy” though many render this “little child.” We are captivated at the expression on this young boy’s face as he looks up at these tall men pondering their question of who is the greatest.

[4] Turn around: Or, KJV: except ye be converted; RIEU: unless your hearts are changed. Someone among the disciples needed to change an attitude that involved political ambition. Some needed to cease lofty thoughts and humble themselves.

[5] Little boys: The Greek is PAIDIA and means “little boys” though most render this “little children.” We cannot help but suspect there is a subtle rebuke in the phrase “little boys” if Jesus directed that at his own disciples. Surely, from one perspective they were behaving as “little boys.”

[6] Gain entrance into the Realm of Heaven: Though this may refer to that celestial realm where God resides, judging from the Nazarene’s use of the phrase, it may be limited to membership within that “congregation” Jesus said he would build (see notes on Matthew 13:24, Matthew 13:41, and Matthew 16:18).

[7] Humble as this little boy: We cannot help but think Jesus embraces the lad as he calms his misgivings about being among the group of men. Or, WMS: whoever becomes as lowly as; GDSP: who is as unassuming as this child.

[8] The ‘greatest’ in the Realm of Heaven: The person ‘greatest’ within the Church of Christ is that one as humble as a child. What a goal to aim for in the daily transformation of the Christian character (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 7:1). Luke 9:48 adds, “For he that conducts himself as a lesser one among all of you (disciples) is the one that is great.”

[9] Accepts one of these: Or, KJV: receive on such little child; RHM: give welcome unto. Research the word receive or accept for notes.

[10] In my name: Or, MON: for my sake; GDSP: on my account; TCNT: for the sake of my Name. Christ almost predicts the name “Christian.”

[11] Stumbles: The Greek is SCANDALISE and is also rendered: KJV: offend; RSV: to sin; WMS: to do wrong; MOF: a hindrance to one; NOR: leads astray. Political ambition and infighting among elders and deacons can create an environment that can cause some in the congregation to “stumble.” Research the word scandal for notes elsewhere.

[12] It would be better: “Better” than what? We may suppose this is not a suicide but a murder. Such a person drowned may be resurrected in the Judgment with a beneficial outcome. The alternative punishment of Gehenna – or everlasting destruction – for stumbling a humble disciple of the Lord carries enormous danger.

[13] Millstone: These could be huge and weigh tones. The image is almost absurd. Mark 9:42 adds, “… a millstone such as is turned by an ass.” Compare Revelation 18:21.

[14] Sank into the ocean depths: Or, KJV: drowned in the depth of the sea.

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Preceding

Matthew 17:24-27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Tax-free Sons No Stumbling-block

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Related

  1. Spiritual but not Religious?
  2. Matthew Chapter A Day – 18
  3. Be Humble Like A Little Child
  4. “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.” ~Jesus
  5. Rethinking Matthew 18 and Church Discipline
  6. “Humbles” Word Study: Matthew 18:4

Matthew 17 Calvin’s view on the days of spectatorship

Matthew 17:1. And after six days. We must first inquire for what purpose Christ clothed himself with heavenly glory for a short time, and why he did not admit more than three of his disciples to be spectators. Some think that he did so, in order to fortify them against the trial which they were soon to meet with, arising from his death. That does not appear to me to be a probable reason; for why should he have deprived the rest of the same remedy, or rather, why does he expressly forbid them to make known what they had seen till after his resurrection, but because the result of the vision would be later than his death?

I have no doubt whatever that Christ intended to show that he was not dragged unwillingly to death, but that he came forward of his own accord, to offer to the Father the sacrifice of obedience. The disciples were not made aware of this till Christ rose; nor was it even necessary that, at the very moment of his death, they should perceive the divine power of Christ, so as to acknowledge it to be victorious on the cross; but the instruction which they now received was intended to be useful at a future period both to themselves and to us, that no man might take offense at the weakness of Christ, as if it were by force and necessity that he had suffered. {1 } It would manifestly have been quite as easy for Christ to protect his body from death as to clothe it with heavenly glory.

We are thus taught that he was subjected to death, because he wished it to be so; that he was crucified, because he offered himself. That same flesh, which was sacrificed on the cross and lay in the grave, might have been exempted from death and the grave; for it had already partaken of the heavenly glory. We are also taught that, so long as Christ remained in the world, bearing the form of a servant, and so long as his majesty was concealed under the weakness of the flesh, nothing had been taken from him, for it was of his own accord that he emptied himself, (#Php 2:7); but now his resurrection has drawn aside that veil by which his power had been concealed for a time.

Our Lord reckoned it enough to select three witnesses, because that is the number which the Law has laid down for proving any thing;

at the mouth of two witnesses or three witnesses, (#De 17:6).

The difference as to time ought not to give us uneasiness. Matthew and Mark reckon six entire days, which had elapsed between the events. Luke says that it happened about eight days afterwards, including both the day on which Christ spake these words, and the day on which he was transfigured. We see then that, under a diversity of expression, there is a perfect agreement as to the meaning.

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2. And was transfigured before them. Luke says that this happened while he was praying; and from the circumstances of time and place, we may infer that he had prayed for what he now obtained, that in the brightness of an unusual form his Godhead might become visible*; not that he needed to ask by prayer from another what he did not possess, or that he doubted his Father’s willingness, but because, during the whole course of his humiliation, he always ascribed to the Father whatever he did as a divine Person, and because he intended to excite us to prayer by his example.

His transfiguration did not altogether enable his disciples to see Christ, as he now is in heaven, but gave them a taste of his boundless glory, such as they were able to comprehend. Then his face shone as the sun; but now he is far beyond the sun in brightness. In his raiment an unusual and dazzling whiteness appeared; but now without raiment a divine majesty shines in his whole body. Thus in ancient times God appeared to the holy fathers, not as He was in Himself, but so far as they could endure the rays of His infinite brightness; for John declares that not until

they are like him will they see him as he is, (#1Jo 3:2).**

There is no necessity for entering here into ingenious inquiries as to the whiteness of his garments, or the brightness of his countenance; for this was not a complete exhibition of the heavenly glory of Christ, but, under symbols which were adapted to the capacity of the flesh, he enabled them to taste in part what could not be fully comprehended.

———— –

{1 } “Comme si par force et contreinte il fust renu endurer la mort”;  — ” as if by force and constraint he had come to suffer death.”

* Calvin writes from his trinitarian point of view not seeing that Jesus as son of God wanted to do the Will of His heavenly Father and did put his own will aside, emptying himself. Though Calvin recognises that Jesus always ascribed to the Father whatever he did as a divine person.

** 1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if {1 } he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is.

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Preceding

Matthew 17:1-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Transfiguration Vision

Matthew 17:10-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Elijah Has Already Come

Matthew 17:14-21 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed

Matthew 17:22-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grief and Jesus’ Prediction of His Death

Matthew 17:24-27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Tax-free Sons No Stumbling-block

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Related

  1. Into the Midst of Theology
  2. On the Mountain
  3. Matthew Chapter A Day – 17
  4. Matthew 17 – The Mount of Transfiguration
  5. The Transfiguration of Christ
  6. Transfiguration Sunday
  7. Matthew 17:1-8 The Terrifying Transfiguration
  8. 4. Witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus
  9. Jesus’ glory revealed: Mark 9
  10. Mark 9:2-8 – Shining the Light on Our Fears
  11. “It is good for us to be here.” A Sermon of Anastasius of Sinai, bishop
  12. The Glory of Jesus’ Transfiguration
  13. And Jesus alone remains
  14. As no fuller
  15. Uphill and Down
  16. Wake Up and See Who Jesus Really Is
  17. Peter & John — Luke 9:28-36
  18. Transfiguration – Divinization and the Transmigration of Souls

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