What Jesus Did! 'Accepting Children' — Matthew 18:5

Sunday, August 20, 2017

"If a person accepts a little child like this in my name, then that person accepts me."
— Matthew 18:5
Illustration of Matthew 18:5 — "If a person accepts a little child like this in my name, then that person accepts me."

Key Thought

There are two key thoughts here. First, Jesus is talking about actual children. His rebuke of the disciples when they didn't welcome children, but pushed them away, is clearly an example of that.
But, there is a deeper issue that will dominate the rest of the chapter. Because children in Jesus' culture were powerless, without rights, and vulnerable, they became the symbol for disciples who are powerless, without rights, and vulnerable. On the surface, they may not have anything to offer the community. But Kingdom thinking is upside down to "the way men think." To be on the side of God means to be on the side of welcoming, accepting, and receiving "little ones" whether they are actual children or simply disciples who are little in the sight of the world. Because Jesus adamantly rejects the normal channels to fame and fortune and instead walks the way of the cross—the punishment reserved for the powerless, those without rights, and those who are vulnerable—his disciples should welcome and care for those like their Savior!

Today's Prayer

Forgive me, O God, for judging people on the surface out of a selfish desire for what they can give me or how they can help me or how they make me feel comfortable. Open my heart to receive the "little ones" you place around me each day. Give me more of your shepherd's heart. In the name of Jesus, the Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep, I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

At that time the followers came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Jesus called a little child to come to him. Jesus stood the child before the followers. Then Jesus said, "I tell you the truth. You must change and become like little children {in your hearts}. If you don't do this, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. The greatest (most important) person in the kingdom of heaven is the person that makes himself humble like this child. "If a person accepts a little child like this in my name, then that person accepts me. "If one of these little children believes in me, and another person causes that child to sin, then it will be very bad for that person. It would be better for that person to have a millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea. I feel sorry for the people in the world because of the things that make people sin. Those things must happen. But it will be very bad for the person that causes those things to happen. "If your hand or your foot makes you sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose part of your body but have life forever. That is much better than to have two hands and two feet but be thrown into the fire (hell) that burns forever. If your eye makes you sin, take it out and throw it away. It is better for you to have only one eye but have life forever. That is much better than to have two eyes but be thrown into the fire of hell. "Be careful. Don't think these little children are worth nothing. I tell you that these children have angels in heaven. And those angels are always with my Father in heaven. "If a man has 100 sheep, but one of the sheep becomes lost, then the man will leave the other 99 sheep on the hill. He will go to look for the lost sheep. Right? And if the man finds the lost sheep, the man is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 sheep that were never lost. I tell you the truth. In the same way, your Father in heaven does not want any of theselittle children to be lost.

Matthew 18:1-14

Related Scripture Readings

Then the people brought their little children to Jesus so that Jesus could put his hands on them and pray for them. When the followers saw this, they told the people to stop bringing their children to Jesus. But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me. Don't stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people that are like these children." After Jesus put his hands on the children, he left there.

Matthew 19:13-15

My dear brothers and sisters, you are believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. So don't think that some people are more important than other people. Suppose a person comes into your group. This person is wearing very nice clothes and a gold ring. At the same time a poor person comes in wearing old, dirty clothes. You show special attention to the person wearing nice clothes. You say, "Sit here in this good seat." But you say to the poor person, "Stand there!" or, "Sit on the floor by our feet!" What are you doing? You are making some people more important than others. With evil thoughts you are deciding which person is better. Listen, my dear brothers and sisters! God chose the poor people in the world to be rich with faith. He chose them to receive the kingdom God promised to people who love him.

James 2:1-5

Trust the Lord completely! Don't depend on your own knowledge. Think about God in all that you do. Then he will help you.

Proverbs 3:5-6

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.