Hello church this week we hosted a large group of children for our annual Vacation Bible School. It was a long week with all the kids here learning about Jesus and making new friends. It reminded my of Jesus and how He views children. This scripture in Matthew 18 tells us the story of the disciples coming to Him with a question of “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” and Jesus reminded them of who is the greatest in God’s eyes. It’s a good reminder for us as well to remember “who is the greatest” in God’s kingdom.
Matt 18.1-6 ESV
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Vs 1 The disciples came to Jesus with a question. It’s good to ask Jesus questions, but what kind of questions do we ask of Jesus?
Vs 1 notice what they [the disciples] ask Him - Who is the greatest in God’s kingdom? Where did this come from and why would they ask such a thing? A wrong perspective caused their focus to be off and they forgot the importance of the gospel message! Is Jesus the greatest focus of my life? Whenever we lose our focus of Jesus we will always ask the wrong questions.
Vs 2 Jesus calls a child and He places the child in His “midst” Jesus knows us individually and desires us to remain in His presence. When He calls us how faithful are we to remain in His presence? How often do we wander away from Him?
Vs 3 “truly I say to you” Everything Jesus says is Truth [John 14.16-17]! If we believe that then why do we ask questions? Since He is truth do we adhere to His truth in our lives?
Vs 3 “unless YOU turn and become like children YOU we never enter the kingdom of heaven.” The relationship Jesus desires with us is a personal one. What does my relationship with Jesus look like? He has already made an entrance for me to the kingdom of heaven, but have I accepted His invitation?
Vs 4 humility is the key to child like faith and Jesus is the model of humility and true humility is crucial to the kingdom of heaven. Entrance to the kingdom has been given, but unless we humble [James 4.5-10] ourselves we won’t see it.
Vs 5 whoever receives one such child receives Jesus Christ. We need to receive [to take hold of] the gift of Christ in faith BELIEVING that Christ has built the bridge back to the kingdom of heaven. Have I done this, have I made the decision to receive Christ as my personal saviour and as my Lord? This is why He came to offer the gift of salvation.
Vs 6 BUT - whoever causes one of these to that believes to sin. We should never become a reason to cause others to sin. Jesus is using this example to connect the child like faith to our own humble acceptance of the Gospel message. If I knowingly done this, causing others to sin, have I made amends? Ask God to reveal any such offences [Psalm 139.23-24] and then make restitution with anyone we have wronged to maintain a right relationship with our Lord [Matt 18.15-20].
Now I’ll ask the same question of us today “who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven”? Take few moments reflecting on the lesson Jesus gives us here and remember God’s love for you and His desire to see you in heaven someday.
Amen - praise the Lord for this years VBS 364 days till we do it again!