Read Matthew 18


The child and humility; importance of forgiveness; marriage and divorce; rich young ruler; laborers in the vineyard; request of James and John.

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? (Matt. 18:21).

Jesus' ministry in Galilee was finished, and great multitudes followed Him and He healed them there (19:1-2). Instead of entering Judea by the direct route through Samaria. He took the most lengthy southeastern route through Peraea, east of the Jordan, and through the cities of Decapolis, that extended south to the Dead Sea. The ruler of this district was Herod Antipas, the one who executed John the Baptist for his outspoken views against Herod's divorce and remarriage (see Matthew 14:1,3; Luke 3:1,19).

The vicious religious leaders had followed Him from Jerusalem, north to Galilee. And they continued to be a part of the crowd. And now, in Herod's territory, they asked: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? (Matt. 19:3). The religious leaders thought that if our Lord took the position of John the Baptist, possibly Herod Antipas might execute Him. But they thought whatever Jesus said, it would at least bring division among His followers.

The popular trend of the day, as well as the followers of Hillel, a prominent rabbinical school, taught that divorce was allowable for almost any reason. But there was a strong, conservative, minority school, followers of Shammai, that held to the biblical view. In our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, He taught the strict view of marriage, with no exceptions.

As always, Jesus quotes the Scriptures to answer their question, saying: Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? . . . What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (19:4-6).

We cannot relive the past and are most grateful for God's mercy and forgiveness to all repentant sinners. Many church members in our corrupt society do not realize the God ordained seriousness of marriage or divorce.

God is a loving Father who wants the best for our lives, that is why he offers the free gift of forgiveness of sin. Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins (James 5:20).

Thought for Today:

When praying the Lord's Prayer, you are asking God to forgive you in the same way you forgive others!

Cross References:

For Matt. 18:16: See Deut. 19:15Matt. 19:4: See Gen.1:27; 5:2. Matt. 19:5: See Gen. 2:24Matt. 19:7: See Deut. 24:1-4Matt. 19:18: See Ex. 20:13-16; Deut. 5:16-20Matt. 19:19: See Ex. 20:12; Lev. 19:18; Deut. 5:16.

Word Studies:

18:6 offend, do wrong, cause to sin; 19:14 Suffer, Permit; 20:3 third hour, about 9 a.m.; 20:11 murmured against the goodman of the house, were indignant, critical of their employer; 20:15 Is thine eye evil?, Are you begrudging, jealous, or envious?; 20:26 minister, servant.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment (Prov. 2:1-6).

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 139:1-2