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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]

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[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

El-Shaddai God Almighty Who no-one may see and live

 

 

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 NIV)

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; {Hebrew El-Shaddai} walk before me and be blameless.” (Genesis 17:1 NIV)

“2 God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, {Hebrew El-Shaddai} but by my name the LORD {See note at Exodus 3:15.} I did not make myself known to them. {Or Almighty, and by my name the LORD did I not let myself be known to them?}” (Exodus 6:2-3 NIV)

“”Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11 NIV)

“Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.”” (Exodus 18:11 NIV)

“But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no-one may see me and live.”” (Exodus 33:20 NIV)

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. {Or The LORD our God is one LORD; or The LORD is our God, the LORD is one; or The LORD is our God, the LORD alone}” (Deuteronomy 6:4 NIV)

“I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!” (Deuteronomy 32:3 NIV)

“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11 NIV)

“”The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods.” (2 Chronicles 2:5 NIV)

“How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.” (Job 36:26 NIV)

“”Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”” (Psalms 46:10 NIV)

“[A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah.] Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.” (Psalms 48:1 NIV)

“Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you?” (Psalms 71:19 NIV)

“Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvellous deeds.” (Psalms 72:18 NIV)

“Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD—that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” (Psalms 83:18 NIV)

“Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.” (Psalms 86:8 NIV)

“For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings?” (Psalms 89:6 NIV)

“How great are your works, O LORD, how profound your thoughts!” (Psalms 92:5 NIV)

“3 For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; 7  for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, {Meribah means quarrelling.} as you did that day at Massah {Massah means testing.} in the desert, 9 where your fathers tested and tried me, though they had seen what I did.” (Psalms 95:3-9 NIV)

“For you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.” (Psalms 97:9 NIV)

“He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant for ever—holy and awesome is his name.” (Psalms 111:9 NIV)

“I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods.” (Psalms 135:5 NIV)

“Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no-one can fathom.” (Psalms 145:3 NIV)

“But the LORD Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will show himself holy by his righteousness.” (Isaiah 5:16 NIV)

“And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”” (Isaiah 6:3 NIV)

“The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread,” (Isaiah 8:13 NIV)

“To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?” (Isaiah 40:18 NIV)

“I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no saviour.” (Isaiah 43:11 NIV)

“Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”” (Isaiah 44:8 NIV)

“For this is what the high and lofty One says—he who lives for ever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15 NIV)

“Who should not revere you, O King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no-one like you.” (Jeremiah 10:7 NIV)

“I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will show myself holy among you in the sight of the nations.” (Ezekiel 20:41 NIV)

“I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 36:23 NIV)

“And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’” (Ezekiel 38:23 NIV)

“The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”” (Daniel 2:47 NIV)

“And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.” (Joel 2:32 NIV)

“”Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder.” (Zephaniah 3:9 NIV)

“”This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,” (Matthew 6:9 NIV)

“”Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No-one is good— except God alone.” (Mark 10:18 NIV)

“for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.” (Luke 1:49 NIV)

“God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.”” (John 4:24 NIV)

“1  After Jesus said this, he looked towards heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:1-3 NIV)

“”I have revealed you {Greek your name; also in verse 26} to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.” (John 17:6 NIV)

“25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”” (John 17:25-26 NIV)

“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ {Joel 2:28-32}” (Acts 2:21 NIV)

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20 NIV)

“for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” {Joel 2:32}” (Romans 10:13 NIV)

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and {Or riches and the wisdom and the} knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33 NIV)

“4  So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” (1 Corinthians 8:4-6 NIV)

“that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” (1 Timothy 1:11 NIV)

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5 NIV)

“For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.” (Hebrews 9:24 NIV)

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16 NIV)

“Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”” (Revelation 4:8 NIV)

“saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.” (Revelation 11:17 NIV)

“And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”” (Revelation 16:7 NIV)

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The Aleppo Codex is a medieval manuscript of t...

The Aleppo Codex is a medieval manuscript of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), associated with Rabbi Aaron Ben Asher. The Masoretic scholars wrote it in the early 10th century, probably in Tiberias, Israel. It is in book form and contains the vowel points and grammar points (nikkudot) that specify the pronunciation of the ancient Hebrew letters to preserve the chanting tradition. It is perhaps the most historically important Hebrew manuscript in existence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God die Almagtige ’n Gees Wie geen mens kan sien en nogtans lewe nie

God die Almachtige Geest die geen mens kan zien

Allmächtige Gott denn kein Mensch wird leben, der Dich sieht

Dieu Tout-puissant Qui ont peut pas voir et vivre

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