From the Commentary on the Whole Bible (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, 1871)
Mt 18:1-9. Strife among the Twelve Who Should Be Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, with Relative Teaching. ( = Mr 9:33-50; Lu 9:46-50).
For the exposition, see on Mr 9:33-50.
Mt 18:10-35. Further Teaching on the Same Subject, Including the Parable of the Unmerciful Debtor.
Same Subject (Mt 18:10-20).
10. Take heed that ye despise—stumble.
not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven—A difficult verse; but perhaps the following may be more than an illustration:—Among men, those who nurse and rear the royal children, however humble in themselves, are allowed free entrance with their charge, and a degree of familiarity which even the highest state ministers dare not assume. Probably our Lord means that, in virtue of their charge over His disciples (Heb 1:13; Joh 1:51), the angels have errands to the throne, a welcome there, and a dear familiarity in dealing with "His Father which is in heaven," which on their own matters they could not assume.
11. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost—or "is lost." A golden saying, once and again repeated in different forms. Here the connection seems to be, "Since the whole object and errand of the Son of man into the world is to save the lost, take heed lest, by causing offenses, ye lose the saved." That this is the idea intended we may gather from Mt 18:14.
12, 13. How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, &c.—This is another of those pregnant sayings which our Lord uttered more than once. See on the delightful parable of the lost sheep in Lu 15:4-7. Only the object there is to show what the good Shepherd will do, when even one of His sheep is lost, to find it; here the object is to show, when found, how reluctant He is to lose it. Accordingly, it is added,
14. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish—How, then, can He but visit for those "offenses" which endanger the souls of these little ones?
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