At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then he called a little child over to sit among the disciples, and said, “I assure you that if you don’t turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me (Matthew 18:1-5, Common English Bible).
Yesterday we looked at our lesson from the perspective of becoming humble, becoming like a child and the idea that Jesus might have been talking about how, in the biblical era a child really was a nobody. Whether male or female the child’s identity was wrapped up in the identity of the child’s father. As they grew older and their roles in life changed, their identity would change as well. For more on this, go back and read yesterday’s post again.
Today we talk about a child’s understanding of faith as simple and innocent. We adults often complicate what should really be pretty simple. When we think about the Pharisees of Jesus’ day I think we can begin to see this as a possibility of what Jesus was talking about here. We adults, all too often, try to complicate what God didn’t make that hard.
In John 8 the Pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery before Jesus ready to stone her. The Pharisees are ready to condemn (and actually trap Jesus all at the same time). Jesus is ready to pour out grace.
When Nicodemus had his nighttime encounter with Jesus, Jesus laid things out in one verse that is often referred to as “the Gospel in a single verse.” I prefer two verses actually.
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17, Common English Bible).
The Pharisees were making things hard. Jesus was saying, “It isn’t that hard. You just need to believe.” I throw in verse 17 as well because it points that Jesus didn’t come to condemn the adulterous woman or anyone else. Jesus came that we might believe.
Our kids get that. All too often, we adults muddy the waters with other stuff. This doesn’t mean we should go around committing sin just because we feel like it. Adultery (and many other things as well) are wrong in God’s eyes. We should never make the mistake of believing otherwise. At the same time, however, we should always remember, there is more grace in God than there is sin in us.
We need to take faith as it comes. It is really a pretty simple matter. Accept faith like a child. Just believe.
How do you demonstrate your faith to the world? Is it simple, or complicated?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Jay and Peace,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved