1At that time the disciples came to Jesus. They asked him, “Who is the most important person in the kingdom of heaven?”2Jesus called a little child over to him. He had the child stand among them.3Jesus said, “What I'm about to tell you is true. You need to change and become like little children. If you don't, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.4Anyone who becomes as free of pride as this child is the most important in the kingdom of heaven.5“Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.6“But what if someone leads one of these little ones who believe in me to sin? If he does, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and be drowned at the bottom of the sea.7“How terrible it will be for the world because of the things that lead people to sin! Things like that must come. But how terrible for those who cause them!8“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It would be better for you to enter the kingdom of heaven with only one hand or one foot than to go into hell with two hands and two feet. In hell the fire burns forever.9If your eye causes you to sin, poke it out and throw it away. It would be better for you to enter the kingdom of heaven with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
The Story of the Lost Sheep
10-11“See that you don't look down on one of these little ones. Here is what I tell you. Their angels in heaven can go at any time to see my Father who is in heaven.12“What do you think? Suppose a man owns 100 sheep and one of them wanders away. Won't he leave the 99 sheep on the hills? Won't he go and look for the one that wandered off?13What I'm about to tell you is true. If he finds that sheep, he is happier about the one than about the 99 that didn't wander off.14It is the same with your Father in heaven. He does not want any of these little ones to be lost.
When Someone Sins Against You
15“If your brother sins against you, go to him. Tell him what he did wrong. Keep it between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won him back.16“But what if he won't listen to you? Then take one or two others with you. Scripture says, ‘Every matter must be proved by the words of two or three witnesses.’ (De 19:15)17But what if he also refuses to listen to the witnesses? Then tell it to the church. And what if he refuses to listen even to the church? Then don't treat him as your brother. Treat him as you would treat an ungodly person or a tax collector.18“What I'm about to tell you is true. What you lock on earth will be locked in heaven. What you unlock on earth will be unlocked in heaven.19“Again, here is what I tell you. Suppose two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for. My Father in heaven will do it for you.20Where two or three people meet together in my name, I am there with them.”
The Servant Who Had No Mercy
21Peter came to Jesus. He asked, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but 77 times.23“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to collect all the money his servants owed him.24As the king began to do it, a man who owed him millions of dollars was brought to him.25The man was not able to pay. So his master gave an order. The man, his wife, his children, and all he owned had to be sold to pay back what he owed.26“The servant fell on his knees in front of him. ‘Give me time,’ he begged. ‘I'll pay everything back.’27“His master felt sorry for him. He forgave him what he owed and let him go.28“But then that servant went out and found one of the other servants who owed him a few dollars. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he said.29“The other servant fell on his knees. ‘Give me time,’ he begged him. ‘I'll pay you back.’30“But the first servant refused. Instead, he went and had the man thrown into prison. The man would be held there until he could pay back what he owed.31The other servants saw what had happened. It troubled them greatly. They went and told their master everything that had happened.32“Then the master called the first servant in. ‘You evil servant,’ he said. ‘I forgave all that you owed me because you begged me to.33Shouldn't you have had mercy on the other servant just as I had mercy on you?’34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers. He would be punished until he paid back everything he owed.35“This is how my Father in heaven will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
English Standard Version
Who Is the Greatest?
1At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Mt 17:24; Mt 20:20; Mr 9:33; Lu 9:46)2And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them3and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Ps 131:2; Mt 5:19; Mt 19:14; Mr 10:15; Lu 18:17; Lu 22:32; 1Co 14:20; 1Pe 2:2)4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 18:3; Mt 20:27; Mt 23:11)5“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, (Mt 10:40; Mt 10:42)6but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Mr 9:42; Lu 17:2; 1Co 8:12)
Temptations to Sin
7“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! (Mt 13:41; Mt 26:24; Lu 17:1; 1Co 11:19)8And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. (Mt 5:29; Mt 25:41; Mr 9:43)9And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. (Mt 18:8)
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
10“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. (Es 1:14; Ps 34:7; Ps 91:11; Mt 6:29; Mt 25:40; Mt 25:45; Lu 1:19; Lu 15:7; Lu 15:10; Ac 12:15; Heb 1:14; Re 8:2)12What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? (Mt 17:25; Mt 21:28; Lu 15:4)13And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.14So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. (Joh 6:39; Joh 10:28; Joh 17:12)
21Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” (Mt 18:15; Lu 17:3; Col 3:13)22Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.23“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. (Mt 25:19)24When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. (Es 3:9; Mt 25:15)25And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. (Ex 21:2; Le 25:39; 2Ki 4:1; Ne 5:5; Lu 7:42)26So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ (Mt 8:2; Ac 10:25)27And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. (Mt 18:25)28But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ (Mt 20:2; Mt 22:19; Mr 6:37; Mr 14:5; Lu 7:41; Lu 10:35; Joh 6:7)29So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’30He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.31When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.32Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.33And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ (Mt 6:12; Eph 4:32; Col 3:13; 1Jo 4:11)34And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. (Mt 5:25; Mt 18:30; Jas 2:13)35So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (Pr 21:13; Mt 6:15; Ro 6:17; 1Pe 1:22)