by the Rev. Henry Huenemann
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:2, 3).
1At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
8Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
9And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
10Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
11For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
12How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
13And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
14Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
How we all like to be great or possibly the greatest! How we all like to be honored of men! We know that Jesus' disciples reasoned together, and even disputed, who of them should be the greatest. Not only did they want to know who was the greatest of them, namely of the twelve; but they came to Jesus with the question, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" possibly thinking it must be one of them. What an object lesson, when "Jesus called, a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted (or turn, or change your mind), and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." What the disciples needed, and what we all need, is true humility. Jesus went on to say, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Greatness in the kingdom of God is not measured by worldly standards: but he who humbles himself the deepest is the greatest. "Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he hath humbleth himself shall be exalted." Jesus said on one occasion, "Among those that are born of woman there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." And who is least in the kingdom of God? Who abased himself the most? who humbled himself the deepest? Is if not Christ?
Our Father in heaven, deliver us from all pride and self-exaltation. Teach us the lesson of true humility. Make us truly humble. Help us to remember that every one that is proud in heart is an abomination unto Thee, and that Thou resistest the proud, and givest grace to the humble. May we become like little children, believing, trusting, giving ourselves as we are, and make Thou of us something to Thy name's honor and glory. For Christ's sake, who has so deeply humbled himself. Amen.
Scripture in Devotional: Luke 9:46; Mark 9:34; Matt. 18:4; Luke 18:14; 7:28.
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