The disciples were having an argument, prompting this question from Jesus:
“What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest. Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go back to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”
(Matthew 18:1-14; Mark 9:33-50; Luke 9:46-50)
Let’s look at our 2 BIG Questions:
1. Who exactly is Jesus?
Once again Jesus demonstrates that he’s the Master Teacher.
2. What exactly does he want us to do?
Jesus offers some truly revolutionary lessons in this passage:
- Want to be first? Be last. Serve everyone.
- Want to welcome God? Welcome the little children.
- Want to be welcomed into the Kingdom? Change and be like a little child.
- See someone doing good in Jesus’ name? Don’t stop ’em.
- Want to be rewarded? Help out a fellow believer.
- Want to experience the equivalent of having a giant stone tied around your neck and then getting tossed into the ocean? Cause another believer to stumble.
- Tempted to sin? Cut it off at the source. Now.
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