Saturday, November 26, 2005

Devotional Thoughts: Jesus called a small child

Am looking at Matthew 18:1-10 this morning.

Jesus has begun to tell the disciples of his impending death in some prior episode.

So what do the disciples ask here?

Which of us is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?

Makes me think of excessively arrogant and totally clueless sports figures whose every action points ME! ME!! ME!!!

But to be honest, there are times I just shake my head in disgust when I catch myself being so self-centered.

I wondered if Jesus rolled his eyes upon the question.

Anyway, he called for a small child to come forward to help illustrate his response to the question.

We can't even get into the Kingdom of Heaven without becoming like little children. Children at their best are without guile and agenda unlike adults. And it is when we are transformed in that way, we can even get into the Kingdom where Jesus is King.

We can become great in the Kingdom by becoming humble like children. Children are eager to learn and soak up things like a sponge. As adults we often think we have all the answers and won't listen to new ideas or someone else's point of view.

Jesus then gives a very stern warning: if anyone causes one of these little ones who trusts in me to lose faith, it is better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around the neck.

If the people didn't get it, Jesus says it again: how terrible it will be for anyone who causes others to sin.

Jesus then turns from causing others to sin to address how we need to stop sinning with his famed cut off your hand or foot and pluck out your eyes to prevent ourselves from sinning.

Jesus is using hyperbole to make his point which is deadly serious: sin is serious business and don't mess with it and don't cause others to stumble.

At this point, I can imagine the disciples are hanging their heads looking at their feet thinking we are pretty pathetic focusing on ourselves. Jesus hit them with a 2x4.

Lord, have mercy for I am a sinful man. Help me to run to you like a child to his loving father.

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