"Reconciliation by Josefina de Vasconcellos at Coventry Cathedral." Image by Ben Sutherland via Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Subscribe to us on YouTube
Subscribe to us on iTunes
Subscribe to our RSS Feed
Receive our Email Newsletter
Visit us at Luther Seminary
The Working Preacher app provides inspiration, interpretation, and imagination wherever you are, whenever you need it.
Matthew 18:15-35 Commentary
by Warren Carter
This section directs a preacher’s attention to the complicated yet ever-present relationship issues of reconciliation and forgiveness.
Matthew 18 has emphasized six community “best practices:” renouncing the quest for greatness (18:1-5), embracing the powerlessness and marginality of a child (18:4-5), not causing others or oneself to stumble in sin (18:6-9), not despising others (18:10), restoring community members who stray (18:11-14). Now it adds a process of reconciliation (18:15-20) and exhorts forgiveness (18:21-35).
For many of us, reconciliation and forgiveness are more easily said than received or offered. Matthew 18:15-17 specify a multi-step process for reconciliation. If we interpret the references in verse 17 to Gentiles and tax collectors as requiring continuing efforts, the process never ends. Surely that’s a recipe for sustained stress, continual awkwardness, and relational hostility.
The focus then moves to another dimension of reconciliation -- forgiveness. Peter asks Jesus how many times he must forgive a brother or sister who has wronged him (18:21). Peter does not elaborate any details. ...
| Bible Text
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
2020-21 Worship Resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 353: Forgiveness
March 10, 2019
Podcast on Matthew 18:15-35, the Narrative Lectionary readings for March 10, 2019 (Forgiveness) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., for Working Preacher.