"If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."
How does a community deal with sin. This text raises the delicate problem of how to engage in correction. First, it should be done discretely and in private. If this fails then the help of others is sought. If this in turn fails, the matter should be referred to the wider community and if the decision of the community is rejected the person may be expelled from the community. The involvement of the community grows.
Matthew uses the word ‘church’ to describe the community of believers. Later, Paul will give precision to this as the gathering of the faithful, the body of Christ, Jesus the head we his members.
Further, the text extends to others the power given to Peter to bind and loose. Others now share in Peter’s power. It ensures unity in the community and the wider community of the church.
The last verse affirms that “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries