Matthew 18:1-9 Don’t Mess With God’s Children

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.

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.

Don’t Mess With God’s Children

Jesus, I like a good argument. I like to discuss different views on biblical interpretation.  However, do I cause people to stumble?  I hope not.  I try and encourage people to follow hard after God and wrestle with issues.  It’s not my desire to trip them up.  It’s my desire to cause them to think more and challenge their own comfort.  However, is it possible that I push too hard sometimes?  Is it possible I am an egotist who wants to look like I am smarter than I am?  It is possible.  Help me to be on guard from belittling people.  On the other hand, there are times when people have caused those around me to stumble.  I have seen legalism rip the guts out of faith.  People I grew up with knew what rules and regulations they had to follow, but rather than see what they could do, they saw what they could not do.  Rather than see what life was about and the joy that life with God contains, they saw what life could not contain and the focus on the forbidden fruit made them desire it all the more.  I remember being at college and our main professor calling us morons because we weren’t easily persuaded by Queer Theory or Revolutionary Theology.  A number of students walked away from their faith to become Revolutionary Marxist theologians.  I was in a lot of emotional pain myself during those years.  However, you were there, even though I couldn’t sense you.  You say harsh things to those who caused my peers to fall away from the faith.  I pray for mercy for them.  I hope that those who were angry and hurting will find peace.  I also pray that the bullying of Christians for their faith over sexuality in the United States would lead to something good.

Questions

  1. What position should a person take in the Kingdom of God?
  2. How should adults in the church become children?
  3. Why are those who lead others away from Jesus so severely condemned?
  4. What leads people away from the faith now?
  5. Why don’t people who lead others away from the Kingdom of God feel any remorse?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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