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Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Kingdom and Forgiveness

MT18:23 “For this reason the Realm of Heaven may be compared to a human king who wished to settle his logs[1] with his slaves. MT18:24 Having started to settle the accounts one debtor owing ten thousand talents[2] was brought forward. MT18:25 But not having the resources to pay off his debt the master commanded that he, his woman, his children, and everything they possessed, be sold so the debt could be paid.[3] MT18:26 As a result the slave fell forward prostrating himself at the feet[4] of his master, pleading, ‘Be long-suffering[5] with me and I shall pay back everything I owe you!’ MT18:27 Now the master of the slave was moved by compassion[6] and so released[7] the slave including his loan. MT18:28 However, after that slave left he found one of his fellow slaves who owed him one hundred denarii.[8] He grabbed his fellow and began choking him, screaming: ‘Pay me everything you owe me!’ MT18:29 Now the fellow slave fell on his knees and pleaded, ‘Be long-suffering with me and I will pay back what I owe you!’ MT18:30 But the first slave was unwilling to wait and he left to have his fellow slave thrown into prison until everything he owed was repaid. MT18:31 Now the other slaves saw all this and were deeply distressed. They went to their master and clarified the whole matter so he knew everything that had happened. MT18:32 Then the master demanded the first slave appear before him, telling him, ‘Wicked slave, I released you of all your debt because you begged me so. MT18:33 Was it not necessary for you also to be charitable[9] to your fellow slave just as I had been charitable to you?’ MT18:34 And having now become extremely angry the master turned the slave over to the tormentors[10] until he had repaid everything he owed. MT18:35 Just so my heavenly Father will do to you[11] if ever you do not forgive from your hearts every one of your brothers!”[12]

*

[1] Settle his logs: The Greek is LOGON and may be rendered: KJV: take account; ASV: a reckoning; RHM: settle accounts.

[2] Ten thousand talents: NEB: ran into the millions; MOF: three million pounds; MON: fifteen million dollars; PME: millions of dollars. If a slave made 16 cents a day one can see the debt was enormous.

[3] Sold so the debt could be paid: It seems impossible that a slave could repay such a debt.

[4] Fell forward prostrating himself at the feet: Or, KJV: fell down, and worshipped him; RHM: falling down began to do homage. See notes else where on PROSKUNEO or prostrate. Research also the word worship.

[5] Long-suffering: The Greek is literally “longness of spirit.” Or, KJV: have patience; WMS: give me time.

[6] Moved by compassion: Or, RIEU: sorry for him; GDSP: heart was touched; NOR: took pity on.

[7] Released: Or, KJV: loosed him; RIEU: let him go free and canceled the loan.

[8] One hundred denarii: Or, TCNT: ten pounds; MON: fifty dollars; GDSP: hundred dollars; PME: few dollars. The difference between the two debts is unthinkable. The scholar Kennedy contrasted the difference in the two debts: the later one could be carried in a pocket; the former was so huge it would require 8,600 workers each carrying 60 pounds! The larger debt was more than that of whole provinces in Judea.

[9] Charitable: Generally this word is rendered by “mercy” but we can see that this is not a matter of judging someone but canceling debt, thus charity. Or, NOR: pity. Read and meditate on James 2:13.

[10] Tormentors: The Greek is BASANISTAIS. Or, BER: scourgers; GDSP: jailers. Research the word basan and torment for the original meaning of confinement or punishment with or without torture.

[11] Just so my heavenly Father will do to you: This is a most serious matter. Those who refuse to forgive will learn a side to the Almighty they will not like. It is a mistaken notion that the Nazarene and his Father were all-forgiving all the time. This matter of forgiveness is one in which the individual chooses his own destiny. See notes on Matthew 6:14, 15 and Matthew 7:1, 2. The lesson is simple and straightforward: we have been a debt so great it is impossible to repay; therefore, we ought to reflect our appreciation in forgiving our fellows.

[12] Forgive from your hearts every one of your brothers: Or, KNX: with all his heart; BER: if each of you does not heartily forgive his brother. Read and meditate on Ephesians 4:23 and Colossians 3:13.

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Preceding posts

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

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

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

Matthew 15:21-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Giving Bread to Puppies

Matthew 15:21-28 – Giving Bread to Puppies

|| Mark 7:24-30

MT15:21 Leaving there Jesus withdrew into the area of[1] Tyre and Sidon. MT15:22 And, look! a Canaanite[2] woman from the region came out yelling, “Have mercy on me, Master, Son of David, for my daughter is horribly demonized!”[3] MT15:23 But Jesus did not answer her with a single word. The disciples of Jesus approached him, requesting, “Get rid of her,[4] because she keeps following us, yelling crazily.”[5] MT15:24 Now Jesus answered them, “I was sent only to[6] the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”[7] MT15:25 But, the woman approached and bowed to the earth on her knees,[8] saying, “Master, help me.” MT15:26 Jesus told her, “It is not right[9] to take the bread of the children[10] and throw it to little dogs.”[11] MT15:27 The woman responded, “Yes, Master, but the little dogs do eat from those crumbs spilling from their masters’ table.” MT15:28 Finally, Jesus said to her, “O, woman, your faith is great. Let what you want happen.” And her daughter was healed in that very hour.

*

[1] Withdrew into the area of: A fifty-mile walk northeast to the coast of Syro-phoenicia.

[2] Canaanite: The Greek is CANAANAIA is also rendered: NWT: Phoenician. This is modern Palestine the cradle of language which began with Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English.

[3] Horribly demonized: Or, KJV: grievously vexed with a devil; WEY: cruelly harassed; LAM: seriously afflicted with insanity.

[4] Get rid of her: Or, KJV: send her away; KNX: rid us of her. The disciples have little patience for this vexed mother.

[5] Yelling crazily: The Greek is CRAZEI. Or, MOF: wailing

[6] I was sent only to: Jesus has a precise commission from his Father and cannot waver from it.

[7] Lost sheep of the house of Israel: Jesus was sent from heaven, not to seek the world of mankind, but those willing Jews in Israel. Jesus is later to say that after he ascends to heaven he would draw all kinds of people. These were the Non-Jews whom he calls “other sheep.” (John 10:16)

[8] Bowed to the earth on her knees: The Greek is PROSEKUNEI. Or, KJV: worshipped; RHM: began bowing down; WEY: threw herself at his feet; MOF: knelt before him. See notes elsewhere on worship or PROSKUNEO.

[9] It is not right: Having said this, Jesus is soon to do what he said it was not right (good, fine) to do.

[10] The children: The lost sheep of Israel.

[11] Little dogs: The Greek is KYNARIOS. Or, KJV: dogs; RHM: little dogs; BECK: puppies. Some might consider the remark racist or filled with ethnic prejudice. However, he softens his metaphor in “puppies” and we may suspect his manner and facial expression was kindly and sympathetic. He may also have said it more for his disciples’ benefit.

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Preceding

Matthew 10:5-10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus’ Orders: Territory, Theme, Trust

Matthew 15:1-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Tradition and the Heart

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Related

  1. Jesus loves lost people
  2. Lost Sheep
  3. Jesus Pointing to “The Lost Sheep of the house of Israel” and “the Gentiles”
  4. Bible Study Notes on Matthew 15:1-28 – 20180117
  5. How Church Should Be (Matthew 15:10–28)
  6. Not Us and Them, Only Us- a prayer based on Matthew 15.21-28
  7. Why I’m Soul Sister to a Dog: The Canaanite Woman & Me
  8. Pride and the Canaanite
  9. Compassion: It is Never too Late
  10. Charlottesville, A Sassy Woman, and the Dismantling of Racism [Mt 15:21-28]
  11. Thank God, God has a sense of humor
  12. A Few Crumbs to Nibble On
  13. Human Cry to Christ
  14. Are You Teachable?
  15. Reminiscere (Lent 2) Sermon, 2018

Matthew 9:18-26 – What others say about Jesus knowing how to care for people

In the 9th chapter of Matthew we can see how Jesus had a busy time. It shall not stay with this first time that Jesus would be interrupted in his talks. In this story the conversation with John’s disciples about fasting gets interrupted when a powerful man or “synagogue leader” comes to kneel before the Nazarene master.

in his writing of

Notice what an unusual request is being made. Jesus is asked to bring the man’s dead daughter back to life.

Browne remembers

It’s a bold request from a community leader who understands that touching a dead body will make Jesus unclean for a week, but he’s desperate. Jesus agrees to go (8:19).

When Jesus heads for the man’s house, an other desperate person wants to cling to Jesus.

In any communal event, she isn’t given the seat of honour: she’s expected to stand in the corner away from everybody else, for anything she sits on or anyone she touches will become unclean. Lev 15:19-33 spelled this out, and the verbal traditions of the Jewish leaders were so comprehensive that they formed an entire tractate of the Mishna when written down (Zabim). She’s on the lowest rung of communal life.

File:Healing of a bleeding women Marcellinus-Peter-Catacomb.jpg

The healing of a bleeding woman, Rome, Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter.

The woman, who had suffered from chronic bleeding for many years, and who had many treatments which did not help (Mark 5:25-28), wanted just to touch Jesus his cloak with the belief that if she could just touch his garment that she would be healed of her affliction. When she managed to try to do such an unnoticed act, Jesus noticing it, stopped and understood the fears that had made her attempt to take what she feared would have been denied her. He addresses her and

His words affirm the dignity and significance she doesn’t feel she has:

  • Instead of telling her off for touching him, he affirms her: “Be encouraged!”

  • Instead of treating her as a nuisance, he acknowledges her place in the family: “Daughter.”

  • Instead of rebuking her, he commends the confidence she placed in him: “Your faith has rescued you.”

In that action we can see how important faith in Jesus is to salvation. Not only suffering would come to an end, hope is given for a better life, even when there has been death.

Browne questions:

Now, seriously, who had the greater faith here? The woman who pushed in to get her healing? Or the ruler who believed Jesus could raise his daughter back to life? The ruler receives no such commendation for his faith. He didn’t need it. It’s the bleeding woman from the bottom rung of society whom Jesus stops to affirm. In fact, she’s the only person in Matthew’s Gospel to whom Jesus said those amazing words,

“Your faith has saved you.”

After the diversion, Jesus continued to the ruler’s house, where flute players and mourners where already making a commotion to ensure no one in the community was uninformed about their ruler’s loss (9:23). The community protocols requiring a display of grief are rather shallow: they quickly melt into laughter when Jesus suggests the girl is not dead but resting (9:24).

Jesus takes the dead girl by the hand, and raises her up. Touching the bleeding woman had not made Jesus unclean; it made her clean. Touching the corpse didn’t contaminate Jesus; it broke death’s hold on the girl. In Jesus, the defilement of the world is being undone; uncleanness and death are losing their grip.

Matthew doesn’t tell us how the girl’s parents responded. You can guess. What he declares is a kingdom statement, the news of Jesus restoring the land (9:31).

Those of us who are servants of Jesus’ kingdom could do well to meditate on how he cared across all the strata of society, and how he gave his richest encouragement to the people who needed it most.

 Open Matthew 9:18-26.

Tom Wright, Matthew for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-15 (London: SPCK, 2004), 104–105:

Two of the things that were near the top of the list, things to avoid if you wanted to stay ‘pure’ in that sense, were dead bodies on the one hand, and women with internal bleeding (including menstrual periods) on the other. And in this double story Jesus is touched by a haemorrhaging woman, and then he himself touches a corpse.
No Jew would have missed the point — and Matthew was most likely writing for a largely Jewish audience. In the ordinary course of events, Jesus would have become doubly ‘unclean’ …
But at this point we realize that something is different. Her ‘uncleanness’ doesn’t infect him. Something in him infects her.

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Preceding articles

Matthew 9:14-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Bridegroom and Fasting

Matthew 9:14-17 – What others are saying about feasting at the sinners’ table instead of fasting for God’s table

Matthew 9:18-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: On the Way to Raise a Ruler’s Daughter a Woman is Cured

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Related articles

  1. Today’s Scripture – September 26, 2017
  2. Today’s Scripture – October 31, 2016
  3. On Jairus’ Daughter and the Woman with the Bleeding (Mk. 5:21-43)
  4. Haggai 2:12-13, Mark 5:25-29
  5. A Loving God
  6. Dead men’s bones and uncleanness
  7. Daring to Pray
  8. The 2 Essential Skills of Great Leaders You Can’t Learn from a Book
  9. Don’t try and steal Jesus’ power

Matthew 9:18-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: On the Way to Raise a Ruler’s Daughter a Woman is Cured

Matthew 9:18-26 – On the Way to Raise a Ruler’s Daughter a Woman is Cured

|| Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56

MT9:18 While Jesus was speaking these things, look! one of the rulers[1] approached him and prostrated himself by bowing to the ground,[2] telling Jesus,

“My daughter has just died but come and touch her and she will live[3] [again].”

File:Christ heals bleeding woman.jpg

Christ heals bleeding woman

MT9:19 And so Jesus rose and with his disciples he followed the ruler. MT9:20 And, look! a woman suffering from a twelve-year hemorrhage[4] approached Jesus from behind touching the fringe of his outer-garment.[5] MT9:21 She had told herself,

“If only I might just touch his outer-garment I shall be saved.”[6]

MT9:22 But, turning Jesus saw her and said,

“Courage, daughter, your faith has saved you.”

And in that hour[7] the woman was saved. MT9:23 Finally, Jesus came into the house of the ruler and when he saw the flutists and the crowd making an uproar,[8] MT9:24 he told them,

“Everyone, go outside, for the little girl is not dead[9] but sleeping.”

These people were disgusted[10] and laughed at Jesus. MT9:25 But, when the crowd was pushed outside Jesus took the hand of the little girl and she rose. MT9:26 Thus, Jesus’ fame[11] spread throughout the whole land.[12]

*

[1] Rulers: The Greek is ARCHON and is variously rendered: NASB: synagogue official; TCNT: President of a Synagogue; RIEU: one of the elders; NJB: one of the officials.

[2] Prostrated himself by bowing to the ground: The Greek is PROSEKUNEI which means to bow before and kiss the sandals or fringe of the garment. Though the KJV versions uses “worshipped” (which is much misunderstood) others render: MOF: knelt before; DIA: prostrated; NAS: bowed down; WMS: fell on his knees.

[3] Will live: The Greek is ZESETAI (Compare Revelation 20:4).

[4] Hemorrhage: The Greek is HAIMORROUSA and is variously rendered: KIT: flux of blood; KJV: issue of blood; BECK: flow of blood. Such a thing made anyone who touched her ceremonially unclean. The other accounts relate how she had spent all her money on a cure and was only made worse by the doctors. This poor soul has suffered much for a long time.

[5] Outer-garment: The Greek is HIMATIOU from which English gets “hem.” Her language indicates she must have bowed low to touch the fringe of his garment.

[6] Saved: The Greek is SOTHESOMAI and is also rendered: KJV: whole; RHM: made well; PME: I shall be all right.

[7] That hour: Possibly it would have taken her awhile to note she was no longer bleeding. By then the Nazarene would have been gone into the house of the ruler.

[8] Flutists and the crowd making an uproar: Possibly paid mourners to demonstrate the household’s grief.

[9] Not dead: Perhaps not “clinically” or somatically dead.

[10] People were disgusted: Or, laughing scornfully; BER: laughed derisively; LB: scoffed and sneered.

[11] Fame: The Greek is PHEME from which “fame” is rooted in English. It has been quite a day with more to come.

[12] Land: The Greek is GEN meaning “earth” with a range of understandings revealed by the context.

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Preceding articles

Matthew 9:14-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Bridegroom and Fasting

Matthew 9:14-17 – What others are saying about feasting at the sinners’ table instead of fasting for God’s table

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Related articles

  1. A Busy Day for Jesus
  2. Matthew 9:18-26
  3. Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity – Matthew 9:18-26
  4. Follow (Part 4) Sermon Questions
  5. Thoughts to Ponder from Matthew 9:18-26
  6. Mourning or Miracle?
  7. Human faith is not the same thing as genuine faith
  8. Daring to Pray

Matthew 8:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus a Miracle-working Son of God

CHAPTER EIGHT:
JESUS HEALS, CONTROLS WEATHER,
EXPELS DEMONS

[A Miracle-Working Son of God]

Matthew 8:1-4 – Crowds Gather as Leper Cleansed

|| Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16

MT8:1 Great crowds followed Jesus when he came down from the mountain. MT8:2 And, look! a leper[1] approached Jesus and bowed to the ground,[2] prostrating himself at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Sir, if you are able and willing, cleanse me.” MT8:3 And, reaching out his hand Jesus touched the leper, saying, “I am willing. Be cleansed.” And immediately the man was cleansed of the leprosy. MT8:4 And Jesus told the leper, “See you tell no one[3] and [go] offer the [sacrificial] gift appointed by Moses[4] as a testimony to them.”

[1] Leper: Lepers and leprosy occur 20 times in the Hebrew Bible and 9 times in the Christian Bible.

[2] Bowed to the ground: The whole phrase is from the single Greek word PROSEKUNEI (before + kiss), inferring severe prostration and kissing the sandals of the respected one. The rendering with the word “worship” is misleading in modern English though not in King James English. Strong’s Greek Number 4352: from 4314 and a probable derivative of 2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand). The word occurs 60 times in the KJV. It has the range of meaning: 1) to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence; 2) among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence; 3) in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication; 3a) used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank.

[3] See you tell no one: Several times Jesus tells a healed person this, usually with the opposite result – they go and tell everyone (Mark 1:44, 45; Luke 5:14, 15).

[4] Gift appointed by Moses: See Leviticus 14:1-32

File:Leprosy thigh demarcated cutaneous lesions.jpg

Hansens disease, leprosy. Depicts thigh with demarcated cutaneous lesions Source: US.departement of health and human services

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

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Further reading

  1. Commentary on Matthew 8
  2. Unclean – Matthew 8:1-3
  3. Matthew 8 (When life takes flight)
  4. Matthew 8 (by A. Sorensen)
  5. ​Matthew 8:3 NIV
  6. Deuteronomy 33,34; Psalm 119:145-176; Isaiah 60; Matthew 8
  7. Lost and hurting? Drop the k

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