Lent Series: The Greatest in the Kingdom

We were walking together going to a new area with Jesus.  The disciples were arguing on the road about which one was the greatest.

Men!

Why do they always have to be the greatest amongst themselves?  What is the big deal anyway?  Are we not in this together with Jesus?

The disciples even had the nerve to ask Jesus “Who is the greatest in the kingdom?”!

I cringed when I heard them asked. But Jesus was so calm with them. He is so patient and compassionate. I guess he understood why they were asking.

Jesus saw a child on the side of the road and asked the boy to come beside him.

He said unless we turn from our sins and become like little children, we will never get into the kingdom of Heaven.  We are to become humble as the little boy in front of us.  This child is the greatest in the kingdom.

He continued by saying “Anyone who welcomes a child like this one on my behalf is welcoming me.  But if you cause one to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around the neck and be drowned in the sea.”

I remembered as a little girl enjoying sitting on Father’s knee whilst he shared some of the stories of the early years of the Israelites.  I had so much fun during our Jewish holidays playing the games, joining in building a sukka, lighting candles and finding the remaining scraps of chametz (part of the matzah).

Part of me now feels like that little girl as I listen to Jesus.  I desire to have a childlike faith as I did when I was younger. I don’t want to lose the wonder of when I saw Jesus for the first time and the sheer joy that filled my heart. I want to keep this joy all of my days.

Jesus continues and says “Sorrow awaits the world because it tempts people to sin.  Temptations are inevitable but what sorrow awaits for anyone who does the tempting!  So if a hand or a foot causes us to sin, it is to be cut off and thrown away.  It is better to get rid of them instead of being thrown into the eternal fire with everything intact.  If our eye causes us to sin, we are better to gouge it out and throw it away for it is better than keeping it and being thrown in the fires of hell.”

The only way I knew how to get rid of my troubles was to come to Jesus and ask for help.  I know if I was not healed, I would have been heading straight to hell.  I don’t want to tempt other people and make them do what is wrong.  What a large responsibility!  I am to be an example to those around me.  If something makes me do wrong I am to get rid of it.  I don’t want to go to hell when I die.  I have heard stories of how horrible the place is with fire and gnashing of teeth.  The thought of it makes me shudder.

Jesus finished his illustration with the little boy and said “Don’t look down on any of the little ones.  In Heaven, their angels are always in the presence of God.”

I wonder what the men were thinking now.  I think we women understand a bit better about children because of our motherly instincts.  I understood very clearly what Jesus was talking about. The men were looking a bit embarrassed and sheepish.  Who knows? Maybe they won’t fight over being the greatest again.

Notes:

*Childlikeness- humans tend to associate authority as being dominant over others.  God wants us to live fruitful lives, getting rid of things that would lead us to hell or gaining control of others only to serve our own interests.

*Childlike humility establishes the style and spirit by which our authority as a believer should be exercised as agents of God’s kingdom.

*To become humble means to be made low or lower oneself. It is a person who is free from all arrogance and self-exaltation, one who submits to God and His will willingly.

For further study:

Matthew 18:1-10; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 9:46-48; Deuteronomy 4:9; Psalm 145:4

Matthew 18.5

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