What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
Chapter 18 begins with the Disciples asking Jesus a rather odd question, or at least it seems odd to me. They ask, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” I’m not sure what they are asking. Are they wondering if Moses, Elijah, or Isaiah holds the most power? I don’t know, but it demonstrates that the Disciples, like all of us, couldn’t truly forsake worldly thoughts and ideas. It shows a thinking of class warfare. The poor versus, the middle, versus the upper class, versus the royalty. And it reveals a concern about what other individuals think.
All of this is how we think as we mature. I need the latest and greatest so others will see just how cool I can be. We don’t think like that as a child, not until the world starts telling us to do so.
This is what Christ tells his Disciples in Verse 4 of Chapter 18:
Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
The Kingdom of Heaven is not about power, wealth or popularity.
Christ also say in verse 7:
Woe to the world for temptations to sin!
This is how we stray. The glitz, glamour and pleasures of the flesh, the pride of the world leads us away from God. Soon our hearts are filled with covetousness which leads to sin. This is why Christ completes verse 7 with:
For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!
God and Christ know that temptation will come and they know we will succumb to those temptations. This is what brings us to verses 12 through 14 sited at the beginning of this post. These verses teach us a number of lessons.
We stray from God. God does not stray from us. God is always there waiting for us to return, no matter how far we stray.
We are individuals and that is paramount. Even if just one of the flock strays, God is always ready to bring that one back. God deals with each of us one on one, all the time. There is no team, party, group or organization. It’s just the one, the individual and God.
Humble yourself, for it is just you and God in the Kingdom of Heaven. There is no one above or below. There is no social status to work towards or worry about.
And finally, when you stray, God does not walk out on you, you walk out on God.
You are one, you are important to God. God waits for you and seeks your return, because you are a gift from God.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.