Good morning and blessings upon your time with Jesus…and with each other. Matthew 18:1-6 (NKJV)
18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Mark 9:33-37 (NKJV)
33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. 35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”
I’ve included the account from the Gospel of Mark because I find it interesting that the disciples themselves are the ones who initiated the topic…” who would be the greatest”…and not necessarily by choice. But Jesus knows what’s on their hearts…what their conversation entailed...and He addresses it in true Jesus fashion.
A couple of things really stood out to me. First, was what it means to humble oneself like a little child, which I think Kristi described so well in Monday’s Blog…they tend to be very literal and take everything said to them at face value. Another characteristic of little ones is that they’re totally dependent on their parents for most everything. Next, Jesus call to be “converted and become as little children” maybe a simple illustration (especially for those of us with sometimes less than simple understanding…which seems to include the twelve, at this point) is not a request…He doesn’t say maybe someday when you feel like it or when you get around to it…no, this is a divine exhortation that “unless’ we are converted…repent…turn from our ways and humble ourselves like a child…” you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven”. But He doesn’t leave us there, Jesus brings His promise, the Good News…but with a warning not to cause these “little ones”…or anyone of simple faith…to sin, for the results will be disastrous for those who transgress His love for them.
You know, something else that really struck me…Jesus never mentioned about these children growing up! Could this then be described as a “constant state of our faith”?...a simple faith of total dependence, unswerving belief and unqualified acceptance?...a faith where, just like the “little ones”, we get to be wrapped in the arms of Jesus, now and forever?
Maybe we should take ole’ Doc Luther’s advice…Do not think about becoming great, but about becoming small. The elevation will come in due time, if you but practice humiliation first.
Blessings to you and yours,