Saturday, 6 March 2021
Title: The Greatest in The Kingdom of Heaven
By: Wong Yoke Ming
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
There have been many comparisons of human achievement in various fields of ‘activity’ – who is the greatest golfer? who is the greatest boxer? who is the greatest tennis player? and so on. As human beings, we like to make comparisons; and oftentimes, we end up elevating the one we think should be the “greatest” and placing him or her on a pedestal. Who is the GOAT (greatest of all time) – Malaysia’s very own Dato’ Nicole David had that honor recently. But these are comparisons we read about or even know in our own lives and time.
Now, the disciples asked Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Well, who had ever been in heaven such that he or she could come back to those on earth and answered that question? The only Person who had ever been there (and came down to earth) answered in two parts, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
What did that mean? No one could be the greatest in heaven if they could not even enter it, so Jesus seemed to be saying that there were only children in the kingdom of heaven!! That brings back memories of the Disney movie “Peter Pan” who lived in “Neverland,” where only children lived. Now, that surely cannot be what Jesus meant!!
But let us read what Jesus then said in verses 5-6: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in depth of the sea.”
Thus, the key words are those that I have put in bold italics – “humbles himself like this child” and “who believe in me (Jesus).” So, let us consider a little child. If the father of such a child placed the child by the edge of a swimming pool and told the child to jump, would the child do so? Here is the father telling the child to trust him and jump into the pool; and that is really what it is all about – trusting Jesus with child-like humility.
As we grow up in this world, we learn (sometimes at great cost to ourselves) how the ways of the world can be so cruel and corrupted. We read of scammers preying on the old and the innocent, cheating them of large sums of money or even life savings. Maybe, some of us have also been victims of such cruelty.
Now, Jesus is telling us to let go of what the world has taught us, how the world has victimized us (and how we have learned bitterness through such experiences) and turn from such ways. Jesus tells us to turn to Him – to humble ourselves before Him and to be child-like in our faith in Him.
He is God – the Father in that swimming pool; He is the One who says, “Jump and I’ll catch you.” Through the Bible, how many times has God rescued His covenant people – and not even because of the ‘child-like faith’? He says it’s because He loves us and because He keeps His covenant with the forefathers of His covenant people. And now He says to us, “This is My body broken for you; this is the cup of the New Covenant sealed in My blood. “
So, Brothers and Sisters, remember this each time we partake of the bread and the wine. But the covenant cannot be entered into unless we first believe in Him. Hence, Matthew 18:6 reads ‘little ones who believe in me’ – the belief and the humility come first, without these, no one can even enter the kingdom of heaven.
Let us pray:
Father, we are reminded, as we partake of the symbols of Your covenant in the blood of Christ tomorrow, how without humility and belief in Christ, we cannot even enter the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom is Yours and we enter by Your Grace. And so we come before You, praying in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
在“活动”的各个领域中，人类的成就都有许多比较 – 谁是最伟大的高尔夫球手？谁是最伟大的拳击手？谁是最伟大的网球选手？等等。作为人类，我们喜欢比较。有时，我们最终会抬高我们认为应该是“最大”的那个，然后将他或她放在台座上。谁是G.O.A.T.（Greatest Of All Time史上最高纪录）？马来西亚的拿督妮可·戴维（Nicole David）最近获了这一殊荣。但是这些是我们在自己的生活和时间中了解，甚至知道的比较。
那是什么意思？ 如果没有人进入天堂，那就没有人可以成为天堂里最大的，所以耶稣似乎在说天堂里只有孩子！这使人们回想起了迪斯尼电影《彼得·潘》（Peter Pan），该片曾在只有孩子居住的“梦幻乐园”中生活过。这肯定不是耶稣所指的意思！！
因此，这些关键词是：“谦卑自己像这个孩子”和“谁信我（耶稣）”。因此，让我们考虑一个小孩。如果这样一个孩子的父亲把孩子放在游泳池边上并告诉孩子跳下去，孩子会这样做吗？这是父亲告诉孩子信任他并跳入游泳池；真正的意义就在于此 – 像孩子一样谦卑地相信耶稣基督。
随着我们在这个世界成长，我们（有时付出了巨大的代价）学习到世界的方式 — 如此残酷和腐败。我们读到有骗子在掠夺老人和无辜者，骗取他们大笔金钱甚至他们一生的储蓄。也许，我们当中有些人也曾是这种残酷行为的受害者。
祂是上帝，是泳池中的父亲；祂是一个说“跳进去，我会抓住你”的那位。通过圣经，上帝救了多少次祂的选民， 甚至不是因为“孩子般的信心”吗？祂说这是因为祂爱我们，也因为祂与选民的列祖保持了盟约。耶稣对我们说：“祝谢了，就擘开，说：“这是我的身体，为你们舍的；你们要如此行，为的是记念我。” 饭后，他也照样拿起杯来，说：“这杯是用我的血所立的新约；你们每逢喝的时候，要如此行，来记念我。”