Reader: “So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child,
Response: “is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Scripture: Matthew 18:1-7
About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
“And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
“What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting.”
Reader: The word of the Lord
Response: Thanks be to God.
It’s important to know something of the context of this passage from Matthew. Just prior to this time Peter, James, and John had been with Jesus on the mountain when he was transfigured in their presence and the four of them were joined by Moses and Elijah in a most remarkable encounter. On the way down the mountain, Jesus told them to say nothing about what they had experienced. I have to wonder if they kept their mouths shut. Peter, as well as the brothers James and John, apparently spent more time with Jesus than the other nine disciples. When you recall that James’ and John’s mother asked Jesus if her boys could sit on his right and left sides in the kingdom and the negative reaction that followed from the rest of the disciples, we may get the idea that there was some jealousy and rivalry among the men from time to time! We then come to the passage you just read and their question to Jesus as to who was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Notice how Jesus defines greatness. The disciples are ambitious thinking position and power, responsibility and authority. Dismissing those attributes, Jesus defines greatness along the character side of things: transparency, humility, repentance, dependance, and trust as to keys of greatness. And these mind sets simply mark entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus points out that the disciples clearly need to repent of their heart attitudes. He is teaching that it is childlike faith which establishes greatness. Have you noticed how Jesus is always more interested in character and actions of the heart than he is in position or power? This is a season for us to examine our own hearts. What do we give the greatest value in our own lives? Is it our position, our knowledge, our resources, our prestige, our goals, or our family? Jesus is most interested in your heart attitude toward him. He confronts the disciples more than once on this issue. He also makes it very clear that to cause this childlike, humble, trusting heart to fall in someone else is very grave to the point of your being better off dead than to be the cause of sin in someone else’s life. Temptation comes to all, but it better not be via you! This day give yourself to transparency, humility, repentance, and trust to the Lord as you interact with all those with whom you come in contact.
Music: “Jesus Loves Me” Whitney Houston https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHm9Ggdanyo
Lord Jesus, we have to admit that sometimes, like the disciples, we chase work, ambition, success, pleasure and a host of other things and neglect a childlike faith. But we do love you and just get off track from time to time. We know you love us in our unfaithfulness because your word tells us you are faithful even when we are faithless toward you. We confess our tendency to drift from a dependant, tender trust in you. Forgive our foolish ways as we seek once again to draw near to you this day. In the name of Jesus who is strong when we are weak. Amen. ―Daniel Sharp