This is Episode #282 and today we’ll read Matthew chapters 18 & 19 together. Parables galore: lost sheep, an unforgiving servant, and the rich young ruler.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #282 and today we’ll read Matthew chapters 18 & 19 together. Parables galore! Lost sheep, an unforgiving servant, and the rich young ruler.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Matthew Chapter 18
Who Is the Greatest?
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “So who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a small child and had him stand among them. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “unless you turn and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child — this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one child like this in my name welcomes me.
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to fall away — it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses. For offenses will inevitably come, but woe to that person by whom the offense comes. If your hand or your foot causes you to fall away, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to fall away, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellfire.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
“See to it that you don’t despise one of these little ones, because I tell you that in heaven their angels continually view the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If someone has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go and search for the stray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over that sheep more than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. In the same way, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
Restoring a Brother
“If your brother sins against you, go tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he won’t listen, take one or two others with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. If he doesn’t pay attention to them, tell the church. If he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like a Gentile and a tax collector to you. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.”
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
Then Peter approached him and asked, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?”
“I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.
“For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle accounts, one who owed ten thousand talents was brought before him. Since he did not have the money to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt.
“At this, the servant fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything.’ Then the master of that servant had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan.
“That servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe!’
Forgive Your Brother or Sister
“At this, his fellow servant fell down and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he wasn’t willing. Instead, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed. When the other servants saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened. Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And because he was angry, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed.
“So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart.”
Matthew Chapter 19
The Question of Divorce
When Jesus had finished saying these things, he departed from Galilee and went to the region of Judea across the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Some Pharisees approached him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on any grounds?”
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that he who created them in the beginning made them male and female, and he also said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
“Why then,” they asked him, “did Moses command us to give divorce papers and to send her away?”
He told them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts, but it was not like that from the beginning. I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery.”
His disciples said to him, “If the relationship of a man with his wife is like this, it’s better not to marry.”
He responded, “Not everyone can accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs who were made by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who is able to accept it should accept it.”
Blessing the Children
Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Leave the little children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to me, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” After placing his hands on them, he went on from there.
The Rich Young Ruler
Just then someone came up and asked him, “Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” he said to him. “There is only one who is good. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he asked him.
Jesus answered: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as yourself.
“I have kept all these,” the young man told him. “What do I still lack?”
“If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard that, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.
Possessions and the Kingdom
Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, “Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Then Peter responded to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you. So what will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, in the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields because of my name will receive a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
I would never want to cause “one of these little ones” to stumble. Christ tells us that whoever does, “…it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea.” According to one reference I found, a millstone during the time of Christ could weigh up to 3,300 pounds. If having one of those hung around your neck and being dropped into the sea is the better alternative, I do not want to know what the true punishment would be.
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant tells us of a man who owes an incredible debt. More than a lifetime’s worth of wages, that he can never pay back. His creditor has pity on him and forgives the debt. But this does little to change the heart of the servant, who goes out and beats a man who owes him a pittance. We can shake our heads at this, but are we any different regarding the debt we owe Jesus? Do we show the same kindness to others that our savior has shown to us?
And finally, the rich young ruler. Follower of The Law. An example to others who was willing to do anything to follow Christ. Except part with his money. When I read this parable, I think about the things that have been difficult for me to part with. And I shudder.
Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for these parables. Simple stories that convey such penetrating truth to us. Help us to never be stumbling blocks for others, especially the innocent. Forgive us when we are not forgiving of others. And help us to see the stumbling blocks in our own lives, the things we cherish that stand in the way of our walk with Christ. Thank you for all you do for us. Amen.
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Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will be changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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