Today's Reading - Matthew 18 - 19:15
They just didn’t get it. Today’s reading follows a chapter which was rife with examples of the disciples’ lack of understanding, their misunderstandings, and their frustration with their inability to do everything that Jesus did. They were clueless. So, Chapter 18 opens with Jesus trying to teach them how to truly follow Him.
In verses 1-14, Jesus lets them know that they must allow themselves the vulnerability, dependency, trust, and forthrightness of children. Moreover, He gives them a stern warning not to lead astray those who, in their innocence, depend upon them for their care and for truth. The disciples needed to stop treating the children as individuals to be kept from Jesus, but should be seeing them as valuable members of God’s Kingdom and should be seeking to lead them to Him. In fact, He illustrates that they need to work hard at eliminating sin from their own lives and intentionally and actively seek out the lost. Their task is to build the Kingdom.
In the verses that follow, Jesus deals not with just what the disciples should do, but also with the condition of their hearts. He indicates that they should handle disagreements privately or within the church if at all possible and not drag people through the courts and cause public spectacles. They should be merciful to others, remembering how mercifully they have been treated by God. They should honor their wedding vows both to their spouses and to God and not cast their spouses aside because of self-centeredness. In other words, they should value others and consider how their actions reflect on and affect others. As Jesus did, they should put others before themselves.
Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable and to depend on God to take care of you, trusting in His ability and desire to do so?
Do you really work at getting rid of your sins and at seeking out and bringing the lost to Christ?
Do you put others first and think about how your words and actions affect them before you speak or act?
Do you have the courage to look into your heart today and intentionally make the changes that are needed?
OK, put down the Bible and go do it!