BE VULNERABLE – LIKE GOD
Lord Jesus, thank you that you’re able to do in and through me what I could never do by myself.
Read MATTHEW 18:1-14
The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
18 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. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
Causing to Stumble
6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! 8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, 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. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, 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.
The Parable of the Wandering Sheep
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.  [a]
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
- Matthew 18:11 Some manuscripts include here the words of Luke 19:10.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectMake a list of healthy habits, attitudes and behaviors you remember from your childhood. Have you lost some good ones? Could you rediscover a few?
This little child is chosen by Jesus to illustrate his upside-down kingdom. It is the eternal country for which the checks at the border look for trust, humility and a readiness to grow. Theology degrees and impressive leadership in the church do not seem to feature. I suspect the flock of sheep story is a place in Scripture where I feature personally! I am the ‘stupid’ wandering sheep. Again, my qualifications for a return to Christ are clear. They are nothing to do with the quality of my fleece. The truth is that Jesus loves me and wants me back (v 13)! That’s it.
Vulnerable characters are those needing special protection and care. The child and the sheep are obvious examples here, but there are two others for us to learn from. The woeful man in verses 6-9 must suffer horribly if he is to join the humble child and the trusting sheep in safety. We need not take this section literally but we must not soften its vivid, shocking images. If we choose to sin or – even worse – to lead others that way, the consequences will be real and terrible. Better to take care of your hands and eyes. And finally there is the Lord himself, most vulnerable of all, and the greatest.
In the light of today’s passage read and meditate upon Philippians 2:6-11.
Lord, I want to live for you with integrity and authenticity. May my words and life demonstrate the difference that Jesus makes.
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