Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Matthew 18:1-14 Overview

[The following overview draws from my earlier outline of Matthew 18:1-14.]

Due, perhaps, to experience of certain apostles witnessing the transfiguration, mentioned in the last chapter, the disciples begin to ask Jesus “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

In response to this question, Jesus emphasizes the necessity of becoming "childlike" in order to enter and become great in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus takes this mention of children as an opportunity to speak about the necessity of receiving children and refraining from causing believing children to sin; this concern for children (those who are naturally the most powerless in society, and who can be so easily overlooked by powerful men) ties into the issue of humbling oneself that Jesus mentioned above; it takes humility to be concerned about children.

Having mentioned "sin" in His warning against causing the little ones to sin, Jesus emphasizes the seriousness of sin, pronouncing woes upon agents involved in temptation, and illustrating the severity with which sin must be dealt. Jesus says, "Woe to the world for temptations to sin," but then He explains, "For it is necessary that temptations come:" God, in His sovereignty, has ordained that temptations should come as a part of His plan to glorify Himself in the redemption of sinners. The natural man might conclude from the truth of God's absolute control that people will not be held accountable for bringing temptation to others, but Jesus answers such thoughts with "woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!" This leads into a discussion concerning the severity with which sin must be dealt.

Jesus returns to the above theme of care for children, giving a warning against despising little ones. Jesus gives a specific basis for this warning: namely, the privileged position of the little ones' angels before God; Jesus indicates that the little ones' angels have a continual audience with God, which ensures that they are always able to bring the case of the "little ones" before Him, to receive His judgment against those who would discriminate against them.

The parable of the lost sheep is obviously a story that was told by Jesus many times; in the Gospel According to Luke, this parable is told alongside the parable of the lost coin and the lost son to illustrate God's joy over the salvation of sinners, but in this context the parable serves as an illustration of the Father's care for the little ones. At the conclusion of this parable, Jesus reveals the Father's will concerning the little ones: that it is not His will for any of them to perish.


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