on asking the right question.In Matthew 18:1,
the disciples asked Jesus
"Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" (NKJV)
They were assuming the greatest spot
would go to one of them, weren't they?
It's dangerous to assume things
in our relationship with Christ.
But they assumed.
After all, the position of prestige in His kingdom
will surely go to one us,
they must have thought.
I mean, we're the Big 12.
We're the ones who have left all
to follow Him.
And we're the ones He chose!
We're the DISCIPLES.
We've been with Him for three years.
We've walked with Him.
Listened to Him.
Watched the miracles.
Even duplicated some of His miracles—
healed in His name—
and in His power.
Surely, when Jesus sets up His kingdom,
one of us will be in a really high position
But which one of us will it be?
Peter probably assumed it would be him.
After all, He WAS the president of the group.
A natural-born leader.
He was always the first to speak.
The first to act.
He was impulsive.
An extrovert in every sense of the word.
And Jesus did say,
"On you I will build My church.
You're the ROCK, Peter."
And then at another time,
Jesus even said to Peter,
"I'm giving you the keys
to the kingdom of heaven and hell."
And Peter did walk on water.
Surely, underneath Jesus,
Peter would be the greatest
in God's kingdom.
But wait a sec.
John must have assumed the
position would go to him.
And that made sense.
Think about it: Who was closest to Christ?
It was John.
Jesus had 12 disciples.
And out of the 12, He was closest to three:
James. John. Peter.
And out of those three,
He was even closer to one.
And remember the Last Supper?
Who sat right next to Jesus?
And John was so comfortable
in His presence,
he leaned over and rested his head
on the shoulder of Christ.
So . . . surely . . . if Christ was going to
put someone in as His "vice-president"
it would be John—the one He was
closest to, right?
But hold on.
James must have felt pretty important as well.
He was one of the "inner three" closest to Christ.
And remember the Mount of Transfiguration incident?
(Jesus, James, John and Peter on a mountain
being visited by Elijah and Moses.)
James hadn't forgotten that.
He was privileged to be a part of that.
Obviously, Jesus trusted him.
So he's thinking, I'm in the running.
But Matthew was a pretty important guy as well.
He left a lucrative business to follow Jesus.
Surely, Christ saw a lot worth admiring in Matthew
or He wouldn't have chosen him.
And the other disciples?
Actually, they were assuming the same thing:
This position of greatness in His kingdom
will probably go to me.
How do we know?
Because right after Mrs. Zebedee
(James and John's mom)
asked Christ if her sons could be
in the two most important positions
in His kingdom (the right and left)
of His throne . . .
the other disciples heard about it.
And Scripture tells us
"they were INDIGNANT."
They were indignant.
They were furious.
They were livid.
Because EACH ONE OF THEM
wanted the position of greatness
in Christ's kingdom.
So what do we have here?
Looks like we have 12 amazing
But 12 amazing disciples
who are full of themselves.
That's what it's all about.
I have a right to . . .
And how does Jesus handle their question?
Matthew 18:2-3 gives us His solemn answer.
"Then Jesus called a little child to Him,
set him in the midst of them,
'Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted
and become as little children,
you will by no means
enter the kingdom of heaven.'" (NKJV)
Unless you are CONVERTED?
Hey! These aren't just any people off the street, Jesus!
These are Your disciples.
They've left everything.
What do You mean . . . converted?
You will by NO MEANS enter
the kingdom of heaven?
If You're saying the disciples may not
make it to heaven . . .
what does that say to me?
I'm stopping here for now.
I'll give you more later.
But first . . .
I want to know your thoughts.
Those are two heavy thoughts:
1. Jesus telling the DISCIPLES they had to be CONVERTED.
2. And if they weren't, they'd by no means enter heaven.
So . . . what are you thinking?