The Weekend Word
Who Is the Greatest?
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
- This will begin a section on Learning to Live in the Kingdom with the King.
- You would think that they would know the answer to this – the Sunday School answer – JESUS!
- Jesus’ message back to John the Baptist in prison
- Who is the greatest in the kingdom?? The least in the kingdom (Jesus is the greatest) who served others, washed their feet – gave up his life etc?
2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them
- Jesus will be gracious with them and explain that it is not the one at the mountain top glowing – but the one right there down with the people.
- Jesus takes a child – Jesus must not realize that he needs to hang out with the big guys – the rich and famous, the ones with the big ministries.
- No he chooses a child.
- Jesus needs a handler, a manager – one who will help promote him.
- Oh, I forgot – several times that seems to be Peter’s role.
3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
- Become like children – in our culture we are told you need to be an adult – to be a Christian.
- What kind of faith does a child have?
- We are told you must be fully conscious of what you are doing.
- We are told you must make a conscious decision – you must mature – progress by an act of your will. Everything depends on you.
- It’s your will, your choice, your action but no – unless you become like a child. Luke 18:15-17
- “15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
- Children can’t do anything on their own – they are always crying out “feed me, change me, hold me”- all from the outside – – totally dependent.
- When a child is baptized, the objection is “the child didn’t do anything.”
- The baby is just a baby and can’t do anything – BINGO
- Who did it? Jesus did it all
- So the next time I am at a 56yr olds baptism, the correct response should be the same – to jump up and yell “he didn’t do anything!”
4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
- So now we get to the answer from v. 1
- Can you imagine Joel Osteen humbling himself like a child?
- But if you don’t – like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld “No Kingdom of Heaven for You!”
5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,
- Any other position is just one who is hanging around – a moocher.
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.
- That millstone stuff sounds pretty serious.
- These children believe because of the work of Jesus – not because they found it out.
- If you believe that little ones cannot believe in Jesus, then you have a problem with Jesus.
- How do you get a little one to sin? By getting them to doubt Jesus.
Temptations to Sin
7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!
- Any time you hear Jesus say “Woe” – you should pay attention.
- Temptation will come – Just don’t let temptation come through you.
8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire.
- So how literal is this?
- He is not commanding us to do this, but…
- He is saying it would be better than going to hell.
9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.
- It would be better to be crippled or blind in heaven than to be physically whole in hell.
- The contrast is between heaven and hell.