Key Texts: Mt. 18:1-5, Mk. 9:33-37, Lk. 9:46-48
After Jesus had described his ultimate sacrifice and was glorified in the transfiguration, something very childish takes place. The disciples asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” In the context of Christ’s absence, they are already planning on leadership! They had a fleshly attitude about the nature of God’s kingdom. Many of our problems stem from this attitude of worldly ambition. Jesus called a little child and sat the child by Himself, between his disciples and then took the child in his arms (Mk. 9:36, 10:16) and said that if we want to be true Christians, we must turn, repent, change and become like little children in order to even enter the kingdom of heaven, much less be considered great in God’s kingdom. This child’s placement by Jesus may show the progression of each of us in the change that we must undergo. Then the person who humbles himself like a little child is the greatest in the kingdom of God! This is likened to the statement made of John the Immersionist, Mt. 11:11. Rather than greatness, it is truly equality that Jesus aspires us to. Memory verses like, Luke 9:48, 22:26, Matthew 20:26, 23:11, Mark 10:43 will help the most prideful of people to grow into the “little child” which represents the humble and childlike disciple that will submit and accept God’s love. What is God’s love? Agape, the dedicated decision to show someone else that their needs are more important than our own. Who was it that showed Jesus, that He was loved? Whoever gave Him a hug or a pat on the back? When Jesus took the child in his arms, what would any child do? Hug Him back! Jesus emptied himself of heaven’s glory and humbled himself even to death, Php 2:5-8. Those who would be like Jesus must share that type of humility. It is not the kind of humility that says, I’m not good enough to serve, but rather, it’s the kind of humility that says it’s a privilege to serve under some one else. Why? Because this is truly the only way forgiveness can be felt and experienced between us and God, Eph. 4:32, it’s the Way God accomplished our forgiveness. So if we practice it with each other, why wouldn’t God honor it? He will, because Jesus is the Way, Jn. 14:6. Even on the most personal of sins against each other which would not affect a third person, God is concerned and provides His presence to help us, Mt. 18:20. The offended is obligated to show humility in initiating forgiveness, Mt 18:15‑17. The offender is obligated to show humility in initiating forgiveness, Mt 5:23‑24. God expects all of us to do this.