Matthew’s Jesus has been teaching the disciples that the kingdom of heaven works not as the world works, but as a new way to live based on forgiveness. Now for the parable, which illustrates almost every point of the discourse that preceded it. What’s surprising to me is how thoroughly the parable teaches the lesson: the Christian community reckons pardons differently than the world does. The brother wronged, instead of seeking revenge, should go to the one who wronged him and work out the issue in private so that the community will flourish and not be torn apart by bitterness and a desire for revenge. Children should be treated gently, and those who fail in this work deserve to have a millstone put around their necks. And by the way, the lost are of primary value to the Son of man who will do everything to save the straying one.