Sunday 2 September, 2018

Matthew 18:1-14

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. 6 “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. 7 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! 8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. 10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. [11] 12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

Who will be the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven? Jesus answers this question with an illustration about little children, which reveals that the question itself comes from a prideful and self centred perspective. He says (my paraphrase) “no the kingdom of God is not like that! Those most revered in heaven are those that are humble.”

In the following passages, Jesus goes on to instruct the disciples in how they should live… he links humility and other person centred with:

  • Not causing others to sin
  • Not over-looking the 1/100 who is lost

Jesus is encouraging his disciples to be concerned about others. To live in a way that does not lead others into sin but rather towards God. And to actively go out and find any who is lost. Jesus shows how he values people equally, he values all people: the youngest to the oldest, the least honoured to the most honoured, those who know him and those who don’t yet know him, the crowd and the one. He wants his disciples, that now includes us, to value people as he does and to live and work as he does to see them found and living a Christ filled life.

Jesus please help me to change and to become more like you. Help me to live a humble life and to be other person centred. To value each person equally. Help me to find and love the lost. Thank you that you came and found me, that you loved me and you keep on loving me and forgiving me. Thank you that you give me strength and humility, through your Holy Spirit, to do all that you call me to do.

Written by Ps. Zoe Stewart

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