Long read but a beautiful chapter, let’s break it down now:
1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a little child and him stand among them. 3And He said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes Me.
Al the grocer is in the routine of checking people out at the register and bagging their groceries. He goes home everyday and eats a TV dinner and goes to bed. He has a huge house and a nice car. He has everything he’s ever needed and no problems ever happen. He does the same thing everyday and feels as a responsible adult. Then the nearby artist comes in the store one day and starts hitting on him. This is out of his normal routine but is it worth it? Is it worth changing his life to fall for the beautiful artist who brings her own life into things? She makes him feel like a kid again and he wants to take that risk no matter the outcome.
6But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! 8If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to sin, 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 the fire of hell. 10See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. 11The Son of Man came to save what was lost.
Al takes the risk and starts dating the artist. They start out slow going to movies and eating out and it’s been three months and he wants to make things more serious. She likes her studio flat downtown and he’s thinking about having her move in with him and even thinking about renovating the rooms into a studio for her. But something is nagging at him, do they share the same room or should he make another room for her? Or save the studio for when it turns into something permanent. Life is short they say but he knows that it’s right to wait, but why? Why should he wait? Why not now? Then he had the inspiration of having her over for dinner so she could teach him to cook. She liked that idea and he made it a point to get her home safe at 11 when he did. He loved her too much to rush into things and she respected that.
12What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.
It’s been a year now and the relationship came to a point where Al and the artist had a bad fight and they had to take a break from the relationship. Al went back to his routine of TV dinners and didn’t see the artist for a month or so and he saw how bland his life was without her. He had a choice. He could live out his bland life with no conflict and have things where they used to be or he could try to make it work. Then she called him and told him her dad wanted to meet him. Just like that as if they weren’t separated to begin with they were back together. How does she do that?
15If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
“How long have you been sleeping with my daughter?” The question was abrupt and it hit Al hard. How dare he ask that, oh he’s her dad. “I’ve been dating your daughter for a year and a half, but I’ve not slept with her.” The dad got angry and the artist left the room. “You have a big house and a nice car but you’re a bag boy, you don’t deserve the things you have and you don’t deserve my daughter. You disgust me with your lies cause I know people like you and you’re a plague on society.” Al wanted to rebut but held his tongue. He took a deep breath and considered what the man said then, “I love your daughter more than life itself. I have shown great restraint in not “sleeping with her” so that I can enjoy being with her and sharing my life with her so that when we get married she can have everything she could ever want because by just being with me that gives me everything I want.” The father got mad and stormed out of the house. Later Al was talking to his friends about the incident and they offered to vouch for him and at first Al didn’t want his friends involved but then it couldn’t hurt so he went to see him with his friends. They told the father how Al has been happy with the artist and all the things they do together and how Al wouldn’t ruin that for the world. The father seemed okay after that and no word of it was mentioned again.
18“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in My name, there am I with them.”
Al and the artist were married and there was much rejoicing after three years of being together and getting to know each other on every level. They learned in those three years how to give to each other and how to get from each other without having to sleep with each other. Their relationship was strong even after their fights and separations because they knew that no matter what they would love each other no matter how bad it got and that they would fight any obstacle that came in their way together.
21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with Me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
As a small boy Al was a shoplifter and a con artist. He was taken in by an old couple with the big house and the nice car and they showed him love and forgiveness. He remembered how the old couple treated him and gave him more than he deserved so when a boy came in the store and stole some DVD’s he stopped the boy and asked him where he lived. The boy was a homeless orphan like himself and Al went to see how to go about adopting the boy as the old couple had him. The boy was taken in with open arms to Al and the artist who had been married for 25 years at this point and made it to where the boy was like their own son. Oh and by the way in those 25 years there wasn’t a day that went by without at least 3-5 times that Al and the artist “knew” each other.
Common question: Just about any question someone not knowing how Christianity works would ask.
What’s your perspective?