Matthew 18 Reading Guide
v1-5: Don't get hung up on world hierarchies; Heaven's 'ranking' system is completely the opposite of the worlds. The last shall be first.
v6-9: Get rid of whatever pulls you away from the Kingdom, no matter how valuable it may seem.
v10-14: Risk everything for the sake of the Kingdom.
v15-20: Keep the church (the representative of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth) pure.
v21-35: Realize the kindness, patience and generosity extended to you that you may become a citizen of the Kingdom, and then extend those same things to everybody else.
Today we're going to focus on the opening three verses:
(1) At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
(2) He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.
The disciples are starting to understand the significance of the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus keeps talking about. Unfortunately, they want to drag the same sin stained social hierarchies that we are naturally prone to into the Kingdom of Heaven along with them. Jesus calls a little child over to use as an example.
(3) And he said: “Truly I tell you,
and become like little children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus explains the first step required to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven is change. Unless you turn away from the greedy, self-first tendencies demonstrated by the disciples here (tendencies that all of us have), you will never enter the Kingdom. That's a big deal!
Rather than putting your self first, Jesus insists that you model the implicit trust of a little child; in this case, an trust demonstrated in the words Jesus spoke in chapters 10 and 16: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."
Jesus is not talking about a one and done type of change here. He calls you to live a life of constant change in which every day you kill off your recurring selfishness and more and more cling to Christ.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Do not hate a fellow Israelite (church member in our case) in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL— In the last verse of the chapter, Jesus mentioned a specific manner in which we are to forgive our brothers. What was it?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The High King of Heaven
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will help you stay focused on the Kingdom of Heaven and not be distracted by the allures of the world.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: