Sunday, December 10, 2023

Who is the Greatest? (Part 5)

By Clifton Angel
Take 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. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How 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? And 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. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. (Matthew 18:10–15).
    Jesus circles back to the “littles ones” who make up the “greatest” in the church. In the world’s eyes, they may have been the lowest in social status: poor, homeless, foreigners, drug addicts, prostitutes, prisoners, and the list could continue. No matter one’s background, if he humbles himself and is truly converted to Christ, he is a most prized possession of God. Like the shepherd who has 100 sheep, each of the 100 is precious to him. So much so, that one lost sheep will motivate him to traverse the most difficult territories and tasks to find the lost sheep. Contextually, Jesus was sent primarily to the lost sheep of Israel, most of which the Jewish religious elites (scribes, chief priests, Pharisees) despised. In their eyes, the poor, homeless, foreigners, addicts, harlots, and convicts were not worthy of a relationship with God. Continually, Jesus showed that these of low social status would make up the “greatest” in the church more frequently than those with elitist mentalities.
    Church, how do we view souls? How do we view those who are lowest in social status? Do we see the value that God places upon them? That value only increases as they become Christians.
    Jesus reveals that “these little ones” (humble converts of Christ) possess heavenly angels who “always behold the face of my Father” (Matthew 18:10). Angels are special servants, created by God for His will. We are not told all that we might like to know about these special servants of God. Is it possible they are involved in the special care and providence that God has for His children (cf. 1 Peter 3:12; Hebrews 1:14)? Absolutely. Do we know exactly how such takes place? Absolutely not. Contextually, Jesus was impressing upon His disciples tempted by elitism that those Christians they consider the lowest in society have elite preference in heaven.

- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website:

No comments:

Post a Comment