Friday 04 November 2016

Bible Book:

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (v. 3)

Matthew 18:1-14 Friday 4 November 2016

Psalm: Psalm 40:1-10


Yesterday we reflected on the metaphor offaith the size of a mustard seed being able to move a mountain. Itwas one of the many times in the Gospels when we are reminded ofthe greatness of the small. It is those things which human beingssee as small, weak, even worthless, that are of the greatest valuein the kingdom of God.

Today we are again drawn to consider the greatness of the small.Jesus' disciples, some of whom had earlier that day seen Jesustransfigured and flanked by Moses and Elijah, ask Jesus who it isthat is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (verse 1). Incontrast to the questions that the teachers of the law ask Jesus,this feels a more genuine question, less designed to trap Jesusinto saying something that will expose him to arrest. It is alsonot a self-seeking question, such as when James and John jockey forposition in the kingdom of heaven: Who is the greatest? (Mark10:35-45). It may well be that the disciples are trying to findout Jesus' identity and even his rank alongside that of Moses andElijah - the only one greater than the great lawgiver and the greatprophet, will be the Messiah.

Jesus turns the question on its head. He leads them away from apointless cul-de-sac of a discussion about power and majesty, to abeautifully simple and poignant statement about the true nature ofGod's realm.

"Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in thekingdom of heaven" (v. 4). Although children were loved andcherished at the time of Jesus, they had no legal status orpersonal power. Children also have no guile; they respond to lovewith love; they are not interested in the power play of rulers andpoliticians. Those who are able to be pure of heart and intention,to be able to believe with a simplicity and are able to understandthe greatness of the small are at the heart of God's kingdom oflove.

To Ponder

  • Who are the 'little ones' in our world today who represent theheart of God's kingdom?
  • What are the stumbling blocks that might be put in the way ofthe little ones?
  • What would the church look like if children were put into thecentre of decision-making and recognised as 'the greatest'?
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