Rescue Operations

guardian1Long (Matthew, Westminster Bible Commentary) begins his comments on this section with: “Matthew has no romantic illusions about the church. He knows that the church is not all sweet thoughts, endlessly patient saints, and cloudless skies. In Matthew’s church, people – no matter how committed – are still people, and stormy weather is always a possible forecast” [p. 209]. Our own practical experience with such things often leads us to sometimes see 18:15-29 as a guide to church leaders on disciplinary action. But vv. 15–17 are addressed to ‘you’ (singular), the individual disciple, and their concern is not with the punishment of an offense but with the attempt to rescue a ‘brother’ whose sin has put him in danger. The passage is thus a practical guide to how a disciple can imitate his Father’s concern for the wandering sheep (vv. 10–14). Continue reading