Childlike Trust

Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?

Matthew 18 begins with a question At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

Apparently the disciples of Jesus, Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James and Judas the brothers of Jesus, Simon called Zelotes and Judas Iscariot, were
debating who was closest to the Master.

All of them believed that Jesus was the Messiah, long awaited for. Through him they exercised great authority and celebrity status among the people. They healed the sick and the lame, the blind and the deaf, and cast out many evil spirits.

Jesus gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils:

Such power is dangerous in the hands of mortal men without the guidance of one like Jesus Christ. An incident recorded in the 9th chapter of Luke demonstrates the rashness of man with the power of the holy spirit. When it was time for Jesus to be "received up", He set his course for Jerusalem. He sent messengers before him to make things ready. The messengers went to a village in Samaria and the Samaritans did not welcome him.
When James and John, the sons of Zebedee, saw this, they were angered at the people and said to Jesus "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them"

If not for the immediate intervention of Jesus, they would have destroyed an entire village. Such was the power that they possessed.

These were the same two who requested to sit at Jesus' left and right side when he established the kingdom of god.

We can see from the gospels that the disciples of Jesus were very ordinary men, with mortal weaknesses. Their lives with Jesus was very exciting and exhilarating. They traveled with him throughout the land and became the center of attention.

The crowds treated them with great respect and viewed them as men of importance, because of their association with the new teacher.

They began to feel a sense of importance and pride. Being filled with their own "importance" they debated their positions in the kingdom of God, when Jesus would proclaim himself, to the people, as the long awaited Messiah.

They asked "Who will be greatest among us when you establish the kingdom of God here on the earth"

Jesus answered by calling a child out of the crowd to him and setting the child on his knee, in the midst of his disciples, said I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

He then spoke of humility and trust that a child possesses and the need of appreciating others and not violating the trust of a humbler one.

To be truly great in the kingdom of God one must live life with childlike trust, unquestioning love, and utter confidence in God. We must regain the simplicity of those early years as a child which were free from the selfish speculation found in our adult life.

We are only truly converted to God, when, having gone forth to meet the stress and storms of every day life, we emerge from the conflict with a trust in God as strong as the trust we had in our parents when we we growing up.

To win this battle we must have unswering loyalty to Christ and uncompromising obedience to his precepts.

Where the love of Christ is not fully present in our lives, there is always the danger of offense by word or deed or example.

Jesus warns his own disciples Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!

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 maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.

And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven."

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Nick Kneffler

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