“And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. ..." (Matthew 18:5-7)

“And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!" (Matthew 18:5-7)

What does Jesus mean by 'welcomes one such child'?

The word “welcomes” is translated from the Greek word δέχομαι, which can mean "receive" , but also can mean, according to the Greek lexicon "to receive into one's family, to bring up or educate."

In other words, it means to receive, but also to guide or teach a person. In this context, Jesus is speaking of helping guide a child into a consciousness where God is the center of our lives.

Jesus is speaking about teaching others to love God, in other words. Should a person teach a child to love God and do God's will, as Jesus did, then Jesus will be pleased ("welcomes me").

What does 'causes to stumble' mean?

This clearly indicates the opposite of the first statement. That adversely guiding someone who is trying to follow Jesus yields the worst outcome. Jesus is stating that to utilize a position of influence to steer an innocent person away from the Truth is to offend the Supreme Being and Jesus.

This is actually the state of affairs of some teachers of sectarian institutions today who teach false interpretations of the scriptures and Jesus' life. They end up teaching materialism in the name of Jesus - emphasizing that if we ask Jesus we can become wealthy or successful. Meanwhile, they ignore Jesus' most important teachings, such as the "greatest commandment" to love the Supreme Being with all our hearts and minds.

What does 'woe to the world' mean?

"World" is translated from the Greek word κόσμος (kosmos), which means "the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family" according to the lexicon according to this context. Jesus is speaking of the physical world - the world where we misidentify ourselves with these temporary physical bodies and we think that this world is all there is.

In reality, we are not these physical bodies. We are the spirit-persons who are temporarily dwelling within these bodies, and at the time of death we will leave them.

So what are “the things that cause people to stumble”? These "things" are the temporary forms and names of the physical world. The attractions of the physical world are geared towards self-indulgence. The illusion of the physical world is that the shapes and forms that our eyes perceive will bring us happiness.

Rather, these are simply reflections of floating molecules that combine for a while and give the impression of permanence. They do not bring real happiness. They do not fulfill the spirit-person within.

What does it mean to 'stumble'?

Previous NIV versions - and some other Bible versions translate the Greek word σκάνδαλον (skandalon) to "sin". Others translate it to "offend" or "offense."

But "stumble" is a reasonable translation. This is describing a consciousness of self-gratification. Regardless of the word used, it is the opposite of love. Love is caring for others, and this is centered around caring only for ourselves.

But what about the "you have to love yourself before you can love others" doctrine that so many are teaching today? Does this teaching even make sense? At what point does a person's love for themselves translate into love for others?

Rather, this teaching is self-centeredness dressed in fancy words. They are essentially teaching their followers to stumble.

In fact, loving ourselves is our disease, and why we are currently away from the Supreme Being.

“Woe” - from the Greek word οὐαί (ouai) - is an expression of grief. Jesus is saying here that those who mislead others must suffer the consequences of misleading others.

The physical world is full of illusion and physical attractions, but those who teach that these will fulfill us shall be responsible for the consequences of those teachings.