Jesus has three years to mentor His disciples into men who can effectively spread His message over the entire globe. Gah! They’re learning painfully slowly! Thank You Jesus for Your patience with us!
- V1 – The other gospels mention this whole thing started because the disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest. (Mark 9:33-37, Luke 9:46-48) The disciples seem to be distracted by a zillion little things compared to Jesus’ focus on advancing His kingdom. They were arguing about greatness when He had just told them how much humiliation He was about to experience. They were seeking fame and advantage rather than ways to serve within God’s kingdom.
◊ How have I tried to make things about me this week instead of focusing on seeking first God’s kingdom? Father, forgive me for seeking my own glory.
◊ How am I seeking to serve? How am I seeking recognition?
- Holy macaroni! Jesus is so patient when we don’t get it!
- V2-3 – This one is a hard leap for me to make because I have two children and they’re both little sinners. Becoming like them in all their whining, naughty demanding, disobedient glory seems like backward progress. But, on the other hand, my kids know when they’re being naughty and will readily confess their sin and, for the most part, will respond to instruction, discipline, and guidance. (Adults aren’t generally known for admitting they’re wrong and responding well to correction.) They are completely reliant on me (and my husband) to provide for them and don’t make it their business to worry about how we plan on doing it. They tell me several times a day about how much they love me. (I’m pretty sure that might not last, but I can enjoy it for now.) They trust me implicitly to love and care for them and they’re not doing anything to prove they don’t need me (although my daughter just hit the “I do it” stage) or that they’re trying to earn my love. They do what their heart tells them to do and they don’t know the meaning of hypocrisy. So yeah, I guess I can relate to this after all.
◊ How am I child-like? In what wans does my “maturity” keep me from fully relying on Jesus and looking to Him for direction?
- V3 – My study Bible says “Jesus used a child to help his self-centered disciples get the point. We are not to be childish (like the disciples arguing over petty issues) but childlike, with humble and sincere hearts. Are you being childlike or childish?”
- V4 – Then or now, children are generally at the bottom of the Socially Important So We Should Do What They Say and Imitate Them Ladder. This must have been a shocker to the disciples.
◊ How’s my humility? Father give me a spirit of humility. Train my mind to point others to You, not call attention to myself.
- V5-6 – This is one of those comparison verses that puts things in eternal perspective.
◊ How do I cause/teach my children and/or others around me to sin?
- V7 – (The ESV translates this section a little differently than the other versions.) I think He’s saying this because where He’s from (heaven) there is no temptation to sin. Hallelujah! Glory be! I can’t wait to get there!
- V7 – Why is it necessary that temptations come? My guess is that they prove our allegiance. They bring spiritual growth as we learn to run from them and rely on God for strength to keep our eyes focused on Him.
- V8-9 – Again, another overstatement to put things in eternal perspective. Fortunately, Jesus took our punishment upon Himself so we can get to heaven with all appendages and eyes attached.
◊ Do I take temptations seriously and run from them as if my eternal destiny depends on it, or do I poo-pooh them and justify giving in every once in a while?
◊ Have I knowingly tempted someone to sin lately? I must ask forgiveness from God and from that person.
- V10 – I think starting in v5 He stopped talking about literal children and started talking about new believers. (My two study Bibles seem to disagree on this point, though.)
◊ Are there people I wish weren’t part of my “family” at church or elsewhere? Father help me to love all of Your children like You love us.
- V12-13 – This picture of our Father pursuing a lost soul is beautiful to me.
◊ Who can I pray for that needs God to pursue them because they’ve wandered away?
- V14 – A beautiful verse that shows God’s heart of love, compassion, and forgiveness.
- V12-14 – My ESV says this sheep is a believer who is wandering.
◊ How can I pursue a fellow believer who is wandering?
Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:
- Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
- What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
- Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
- What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
- What do these verses move me to pray for myself?