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26: Caring for and Forgiving Our Brothers (Mt 18:1-35)
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26: Caring for and Forgiving Our Brothers (Mt 18:1-35)

I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

The disciples had learned of Jesus’ final mission to suffer and die in Jerusalem. But they could not fully comprehend its purpose and significance. The disciples still had a false expectation of what the kingdom of God would be, and wanted to be the greatest in the kingdom. In this lesson, the Lord gave His fourth major discourse in response to the disciples’ two questions. Jesus’ extensive teachings aimed to correct the disciples’ misconceptions and tell them the importance of love and unity among His followers.

B.     Key Verse

            “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (18:4).

C.     Did You Know…?

1.       Millstone (18:6): Lit. “a millstone of a donkey,” i.e., a millstone turned by a donkey—far larger and heavier than the small millstones (24:41) used by women each morning in their homes. 8/1465

2.       Seven times (18:21): …the traditional Rabbinic teaching was that an offended person needed to forgive a brother only three times. 12/62

3.       10,000 talents (18:24): This probably equaled several million dollars, for a talent was probably a measure of gold, between 58 and 80 pounds. 12/62About 60 million denarii; one denarius was an average day’s wage. Therefore this was a debt impossible to repay. 1/1447

II.    Observation

A.     Outline







B.     Key Words/Phrases

III. General Analysis

1. Take note of how the word “little” sheds light on the meaning of “great.” Go through the passage and list the things that make a person “great” in the kingdom of heaven.

2. Which verses show that God is concerned about the well-being of one of the little ones?

3. Why is it that our attitude towards the little ones have direct bearing on our attitude toward God?

IV.  Segment Analysis

A.     18:1-14

1. What was the disciples’ mentality for asking about who is the greatest, and why is this mentality wrong?

2. What is it about little children that we should learn from?

3. What is the quality that underlies both being like a little child (3) and receiving a little child (5)?

4a. Why is it such a serious offense to cause someone to sin?

4b. Why is it that “offenses must come”? If so, why should the one who offends still be condemned?

4c. Think of some things that could cause a little one to sin.

5. How should we apply the teaching in 8 and 9?

6a. Who are the “little ones” in 11-14?

6b. What can we learn about God from this passage?

B.     18:15-20

7. Relate this paragraph to 11-14.

8a. List the steps we should take for the brother who has sinned.

8b. What is the spirit behind these instructions?

9. Shouldn’t we simply forgive those who have sinned? Why bring witnesses against them or even tell it to the church?

10. What do 18-20 teach us about

10a. Our responsibility towards brothers who sin.

10b. The authority of the church

11. What is the meaning of gathering “in My name”?

C.     18:21-35

12. Record the teachings or personal lessons you can gather from this paragraph.

13. Explain forgiving “up to seventy times seven.”

14a. Why couldn’t the wicked servant forgive his fellow servant?

14b. What enables us to forgive, even when we have been seriously wronged or deeply hurt?

15a. Read verse 35 and think about the seriousness of this teaching. Why does God take it so personally if we don’t forgive others?

15b. Why isn’t it enough to forgive by not retaliating? Why must forgiveness be done from the heart?

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