Questions About the Greatest
18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 18:2 He called a child, had him stand among them, 18:3 and said, “I tell you the truth,1 unless you turn around and become like little children,2 you will never3 enter the kingdom of heaven! 18:4 Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 18:5 And whoever welcomes4 a child like this in my name welcomes me.
18:6 “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,5 it would be better for him to have a huge millstone6 hung around his neck and to be drowned in the open sea.7 18:7 Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! It8 is necessary that stumbling blocks come, but woe to the person through whom they come. 18:8 If9 your hand or your foot causes you to sin,10 cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than to have11 two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 18:9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than to have12 two eyes and be thrown into fiery hell.13
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
18:10 “See that you do not disdain one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.14 18:12 What do you think? If someone15 owns a hundred16 sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go look for the one that went astray?17 18:13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth,18 he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 18:14 In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that one of these little ones be lost.
Restoring Christian Relationships
18:15 “If19 your brother20 sins,21 go and show him his fault22 when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother. 18:16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you, so that at the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established.23 18:17 If24 he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. If25 he refuses to listen to the church, treat him like26 a Gentile27 or a tax collector.28
18:18 “I tell you the truth,29 whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven. 18:19 Again, I tell you the truth,30 if two of you on earth agree about whatever you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.31 18:20 For where two or three are assembled in my name, I am there among them.”
18:21 Then Peter came to him and said, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother32 who sins against me? As many as seven times?” 18:22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times!33
The Parable of the Unforgiving Slave
18:23 “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves.34 18:24 As35 he began settling his accounts, a man who owed ten thousand talents36 was brought to him. 18:25 Because37 he was not able to repay it,38 the lord ordered him to be sold, along with39 his wife, children, and whatever he possessed, and repayment to be made. 18:26 Then the slave threw himself to the ground40 before him, saying,41 ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you everything.’ 18:27 The lord had compassion on that slave and released him, and forgave him the debt. 18:28 After42 he went out, that same slave found one of his fellow slaves who owed him one hundred silver coins.43 So44 he grabbed him by the throat and started to choke him,45 saying, ‘Pay back what you owe me!’46 18:29 Then his fellow slave threw himself down and begged him,47 ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you.’ 18:30 But he refused. Instead, he went out and threw him in prison until he repaid the debt. 18:31 When48 his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were very upset and went and told their lord everything that had taken place. 18:32 Then his lord called the first slave49 and said to him, ‘Evil slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me! 18:33 Should you not have shown mercy to your fellow slave, just as I showed it to you?’ 18:34 And in anger his lord turned him over to the prison guards to torture him50 until he repaid all he owed. 18:35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you, if each of you does not forgive your51 brother52 from your heart.”