God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 22 - Matthew 18: Jesus On Forgiveness and Arrogance

Today’s Reading: Matthew 18

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Jesus wants forgiveness to rule—both in seeking it and giving it.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

The Apostles asked about rank. Jesus responded, "Childlike people rank highest. Treat them well. It's better to be handicapped and God's than whole and the Devil's. Watch your arrogance.
"A shepherd searches for lost sheep. So will God. Seek lost Siblings: first alone, then with a small group, and finally with everyone. If no resolution, treat them as an outsider who needs God. All spoken words are binding."
Peter asked how often to forgive. Jesus spoke a parable, "A servant, forgiven a huge amount, was greatly punished for not forgiving a small amount. God forgives those who forgive others."

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Childlike people are the highest in the Kingdom. Treat them well.

I never realized these verses went together. I had always thought the "children are first in the kingdom" scripture was separate from the "chop off your hand if it offends you" scripture. Jesus wanted them to go together. He understood the heavy cost of discouraging a young, childlike Chosen Person.
How many times do we see a person new to His Chosen People want to do something or set things right with an undesirable group be rejected by a "mature" person who "knows better". We need to heed Jesus' warning,
Watch that you don’t treat a single one of these childlike believers arrogantly. You realize, don’t you, that their personal angels are constantly in touch with my Father in heaven? (v. 10, The Message)

Jesus wanted conflicts to end with friendship, not bitter partings.

All my life I thought Jesus meant if the person would not listen to the church you should throw them out. However, reading this time alongside Jesus' discussion of the 99 vs. the 1 I realized He does not want people to throw their hurtful Siblings out the door. He wants them to continue seeking a way into the person's heart but treat them as a person who lives an open life of sin. Jesus dined with sinners and called them to repentance. So should we.

Everything a person says is heard and heeded by God.

In an interesting ending to the discourse on regaining a Sibling Jesus says the following,
Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there. (vv. 18-20)
Jesus wants to make sure we know not to go and tear a person down around others, even if they hurt us. This saying both encourages and terrifies. It encourages us because no person is insignificant to God. God hears all. That, on the other hand, terrifies us, God listens to everything we say. Be careful what comes out your mouth.

God's Forgiveness is conditional on our forgiveness of others.

One of the few conditional parts of God is forgiveness. God's Love is boundless. His Compassion knows no end. But His Forgiveness will be taken away if we hold on to our bitterness and do not forgive others. This is a hard saying.

Do you need to forgive someone?

Have something to add? Leave a comment on the Sonoma Mountain Parkway Church of Christ Facebook page.
If you missed a reading or want to go to a specific date, type the link as follows:
That will take you to the reading for that day.
Subscribe to receive the daily readings by email. See the top, right side of the page.
Share this post with others! See the links below the post to share on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.