Lord Jesus--I never really thought about context of these teachings. They all string together from the original question of: who is greatest in the kingdom. The backdrop being Jerusalem is in the distance and you are working your way toward the cross.
So really this is instruction given to self important people all of whom need to grow and fit into the structure of your coming kingdom. Fitting all the pieces together Lord Jesus, it must have been difficult to be so close to meeting your most difficult hour and to see that those who would be responsible for the mission be so...shallow, and self absorbed. So you called them to entering the kingdom child like and reminded them of the reality of where they came from...just lost sheep.
The reality is Lord I can be self absorbed and shallow...and yet you continue to work with me. You continue to spend mercy and grace on me. Even in the looming shadow of the cross you continued to teach these men, so you continue to shape and form me within the context that you find me. Thank you Lord for your grace.
15"If 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.'
In the middle of life people mess up and here you give clear direction on how to handle it. You remind me, that I all to often will be the one needing correction. So how do we treat each other? Directly is what you called for. You call me to honesty in relationships, no denial or looking the other way, but frontal view, face to face, without distraction. If that does not work, then it is time for witnesses.
17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
There is a time to walk away from a relationship. I tend to err on the side of attempting to make things work long after it is clear that repentance is not going to occur. Lord Jesus there are times when you are exactly right. There comes a time when listening more just confirms the sin.
How do lost sheep treat one another? Directly, honestly with witnesses if necessary. Realizing that sin can not be ignored or it will eat away at the health of the whole. Where is mercy and hope? Hope that repentance will come...hope that walking the other way will bring change.
Lord Jesus in this day that is coming soon...lead and guide me. If there are those situations where confrontation is needed, help me to face the truth with grace, mercy and honesty. Lord Jesus work.