Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 72
Matthew:18:1-9 The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:17:24-27 The Temple Tax
What is God doing?
"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven"
God is wanting a people for HIMSELF that will humble themselves as this little child. The kingdom of heaven is/will be a gathering of these types of people. How many people at present are this type of humble? Well at present none, not even the disciples. Therefore, there is a lot of doing yet to be done to bring about this type of humility in this type of person.
"And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me"
And it is not only this type of humility sought for in a person, it is also on top of that a person willing to receive other persons of such humility into their heart and circles. Humility in a sense is a recognition of desperate need. We recognize our desperate need in the Lord, we recognize and help meet that desperate need in the Lord towards others. The person coming in need does not even have to recognize their need yet as long as we do as we take them in. It is then a view point that we are all in desperate need and that all our needs are met in Christ Jesus. The "one such child" might be the biggest smelliest road worn transient in town; it does not matter because he too is "one such child". The "one such child" might be the richest philanthropist in the world; it does not matter because to the Lord and therefore to us he is "one such child".
Certainly there is the "one such child" in the orphanage or in that protective custody foster home or curled up in that bed on the cancer ward that we must desperately seek out and go to them in their need in Christ's blessed name, but just as certainly there is that way of looking at all people just as we do ourselves in full out need of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus.
"Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"
Must needs is an interesting way to put it. Why doesn't God just keep these "must needs" from happening? I guess that HE had every opportunity back in the garden back when we fell to prevent these "must needs" by just ending it all right then and there. How else could HE have done it and still be able to drive man toward salvation and the eternal kingdom where these "must needs" could truly and forever be "never more". How much better that we be brought once and for all to never again producing these "must needs" from within our hearts than HIM at the constant trigger of protecting us from ourselves at every step forevermore.
What is man doing?
Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
Well the disciples are likely thinking again of themselves, their position in this all, what future place they will hold. They are likely thinking that this kingdom of heaven is something immediate. Even after the death of Jesus upon seeing His resurrection, their first question was "will you now restore the kingdom of heaven to Israel". Restore? Tiny Israel? Here in this age of death and destruction? Your position in that small little temporary thing? Is that all that this really is?
"Whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me".
This notice is spoken right after speaking of an entire city that refuses to receive Him (Jesus) and a nation that is soon to nail Him to a cross to kill Him. These are gracious words from one Himself so utterly despised and rejected. If they were to receive anybody, why would it be in His name?
"Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me"
Who then would be offended? Who would then make the child or the humble to stumble? Those who take offense in Christ. An illustration would be... well ... this cursed city Capernaum and temple. In their eye they are not in desperate need of a savior, they have all that they need. Even though there are sick and lame people pouring out of the woodwork they are plump and full; even though there are an extraordinary number of demon possessed and son's and daughters dying. Even though Jesus has repeatedly shown them powerful signs of God's loving mercy, no they are full to overflowing with their own brand of goodness.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
"Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven"
He was speaking to disciples only at this moment. They had asked; this was His answer. We should take it that they were not converted yet. Now certainly Jesus knows that He is not going to lose any of these men except for one. If they are not converted yet, there is something that Jesus must know about these men that puts His mind to ease as He approaches Calvary; something perhaps impossible for us ourselves to see. That and the second need to become as little children; what guaranty is there of that?
It evidently is not a power left to ourselves. If by our power alone we would surely neither be converted and not humble ourselves to be as little children; not to the level at which it is meant. Therefore, as becoming a saint is not of our own power neither is being nor remaining a saint. Thankfully many offending arms and eyeballs can be spared, we know not exactly how, but we know it is of HIS ability and power and we know that it is done in Christ only. Keep to that thought and that mode of operation and one will keep to the commandment and faith of Jesus!
Next: devotion:Matthew:18:10-14 The Parable of the Lost Sheep