At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Matthew 18:1
Reading and re-reading and researching and digging into trying to understand the context of this scenario and chapter – Jesus goes on a roll, in response to verse 1…WHO’S THE GREATEST…?” Besides Peter asking a question in verse 21, Jesus replies with a variety of illustrative lessons to address who qualifies to be among the greatest in heaven.
Jesus’ response includes:
- A child in Jesus arms
- The cause of stumbling
- A wandering sheep
- How to handle sin among spiritual family
- A parable of mercy and forgiveness.
Is there a connection Matthew is making through Jesus’ interaction and instruction to the disciples?
What lessons are strung together in Jesus’ answers?
This is what it means to me – TO BE GREAT in and for His Kingdom!
- A child in Jesus arms: To be like the child in innocence, purity, without judgement. To be one who accepts and embraces people, without conditions, expecting them to perform for, give to or serve me.
- The cause of stumbling: I don’t want to cause others to stumble, in what and how I teach the Word of God. I want to cut off the inner fleshly attitudes, sins – that are causing me to sin. Stinking’ Yukky Dirty Sinful Fleshy Stuff.
- A wandering sheep: To be a son, servant and shepherd of God – who loves one heart enough to reach out and help – rather than being “overly consumed” by reaching, discipling the “numbers or masses.” Yet, teach, equip, disciple the valuable, precious “numbers” in the flock God has entrusted to me at NH Manoa.
- How to handle sin among spiritual family: It’s good to be bold and passionate about requiring the body of Christ to follow this truth protocol! Don’t compromise this Rod! Lead people towards this difficult, and freeing process. Too many Christians rather talk forgiveness, rather than walk in forgiveness.
- A parable of mercy and forgiveness: I’m too harsh with my wife, kids…! I can give mercy and forgiveness to those around me, yet those closest to me catch the merciless, unloving, impatient wrathful sin of Rod. O God…forgive me! And may I forgive…more unconditionally! HELP!
Holy God! I’d like to submit to Your stirring and conviction within my heart – to be the kind of husband, father, family member, friend, brother in Christ, servant, pastor and leader – You are calling see to be!
So who do I need to love, accept, affirm, lead, teach, seek out, forgive…? Oh boy….names popping’ into my heart…! Hep me to obey You, one day, with one person at a time!