Read: Matthew 19-20
Background: These two chapters are verse upon verse of Jesus pouring out his wisdom and knowledge on those around him. Jesus earthly ministry is beginning to draw to a close and he even predicts his own death in these chapters. There are tons of different mini sermons, but common threads in Jesus’ words here.
19:7- The law of Moses did permit divorce, it was a man who could choose to divorce his wife.
8-9- Jesus takes this law and intensifies it. He sets the bar for marriage much higher and shows that divorce was never the original design. Jesus is perfecting the law.
13- Little children were not highly regarded in this society. Since they couldn’t work and were totally dependent, they were considered somewhat worthless.
23- Money can be a huge barrier to following Christ.
26- The work of salvation is by God’s hand alone. It is impossible for us to be saved on our own.
20:1- The Kingdom of God is like…. This is a clue for us that everything following is a metaphor for what God’s Kingdom is like! We have to use our interpretation skills!
20-21- Mothers have not changed a bit. They still do all they can to get their kids the highest recognition, haha
Notice that verses 19:30, 20:16 and 20:26-27 are all a similar theme. The first shall be last and the last shall be first.
Think: One of my brothers is a HUGE Taylor Swift fan, and since I’ve been driving his car lately, her songs are stuck in my head. As I was reading this passage I couldn’t get the lyrics, “O darling don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little,” out of my head. Then as I started to think more I realized that this song actually may be beneficial. Perhaps Jesus is asking us to do a similar thing- to stay like a child.
Children in the first century were nobodies. Unlike today, everyone probably didn’t ooo and ahh at the little babies and dream of what the future generations could accomplish. These kids equaled nothing to society, but mattered incredibly to Jesus. Why?
The first thing I notice is that kids aren’t given anything because they earned it. In verse 26 of chapter 19 we are reminded that we do not earn salvation, that’s impossible. Only God can give us salvation and it is a gift. A child would know and understand this concept. They don’t have to work for food, their mom just feeds them. Jesus wants us to understand that, like a child, we only are given his blessings as a gift- not by how hard we work.
Jesus goes on in this chapter about money, something society cares a lot about and kids don’t care at all about. Jesus tells his disciples that it is easier for a camel to go through a tiny hole in a needle than for a rich person to enter his kingdom. So we should be like kids in the way we think about money. Of course we can gain knowledge and be wise with how we spend and save, but in general, we should be like kids who do not make gaining wealth a priority.
I love love love the parable at the beginning of chapter 20, it is all about being grateful and not feeling entitled. These laborers were happy with getting paid a denarius, until they found out someone who worked less got that much too. They began to feel like they deserved to get paid more than the others. They didn’t, but they began to compare with others and felt gyped. Think of a young innocent child on a birthday. Obviously this is not always the case, but for the most part a child is thrilled to get a gift! They don’t know it is their birthday and they ‘deserve’ a gift. We should be like a child who does not feel entitled to anything and grateful for everything.
If this is not enough, the chapter goes on, showing us again why we should be like a child. Kids believe in miracles. Jesus heals two blind men just at his word, and kids would have no problem believing that. Jesus wants us to be like little kids who believe he can do anything, because he can!
Kids may be considered last in knowledge, understanding and prestige but in the Kingdom of God they are considered first! The first shall be last and the last shall be first! Learn how to be a little kid!
Ask: Ask God to reveal areas of your heart where you are not like a little child. Pray that you will trust Jesus as a little child is able to trust.