“Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Scripture reading for January 26th: Matthew 18
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Matthew 18:1) Jesus responded to that inquiry by calling a child to stand in their midst. “And He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4) Jesus went on to warn the disciples about causing one of these little ones to go astray. “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 19:6)
Jesus taught his disciples that the answer to becoming great involved humility like a child in the followers of Jesus. This humility would be expressed in their care and treatment of “little ones” in the faith, new believers in Jesus! They must welcome them, forgive them, search them out when they go astray, and work on keeping right relationships! Being forgiven has responsibility that comes with it!
Jesus concluded His answer with a story about a king that settled an account with a servant that owed him an amount of money far beyond his capacity to repay. The king forgave the man the debt. This man found a man that owed him a small amount of money and when he couldn’t pay, had him thrown into prison. When the king heard about it, he put that man in jail and threw away the key! “This is how My heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:35