The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.
It is very difficult to fathom anyone spending three straight years with Jesus Christ the Lord and Incarnate Son of God, observing His teaching and miracles, coming along side Him in the ministry and then somehow conclude you need a little attention for yourself! Yet, this is exactly what happened in Matthew 18!
Following the Transfiguration, the Lord Jesus was going around Galilee healing others, and the disciples began to enjoy it so much they were impressed with themselves for being around Him! And they corporately posed the question to Him, “… Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Matt 18:1).
At one of the pinnacles of popularity in the life of Christ when He should have been receiving all the glory – especially from the disciples – they have the nerve to ask Him which of them was the greatest! Remember His answer? “… Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children (quietly dependent and trusting), you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3-4).
In other words, the way up is down (Jas 4:10). If you want glory, you must walk the path of lowliness. Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “The first link between my soul and Christ is not my goodness but my badness; not my merit but my misery; not my standing but my falling.”
Such is the subject of Psalm 131:1 – “O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.”
Psalm 131:1 preaches what it means to possess true humility and the trust in God which is produced from genuine lowliness. Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Comparing all the Psalms to gems, we should like this to a pearl; how beautifully it will adorn the neck of patience. It is one of the shortest Psalms to read, but one of the longest to learn. It speaks of a young child, but it contains the experience of a man in Christ.”
Think back to the scene in Matthew 18 with the disciples asking Jesus who is the greatest. Even after Jesus preached this great message to them about the 1st being last and vice versa, they still didn’t get it. They continued to think they could handle the Christian life on their own (e.g., they scattered after His death as Jesus told them, Peter’s denial, etc.). Pride was a constant battle with them.
Along with that, they struggled frequently with something else towards the end of the life of Jesus, and I believe these things are connected: hope. Why and how did Jesus start off His last words of encouragement to them (John 14-17)? He started by trying to give them a glimpse of the eternal hope they had to look forward to?
Here’s the connection: the disciple who struggles with humility will struggle with having hope. Why? Because the disciple who is not humble thinks on his own; he tries to go about life doing his own thing; he follows his own set of rules; therefore when thoughts of the future arise, he is worried “to death” and possesses no hope, because he thinks the future is up to him. On the contrary, the genuine believer will have a godly hope and not be anxious or worry, because his dependence is upon one place: not himself or his friends or his church or his career but God and God alone.
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