Wednesday, May 3
I think most people think of Jesus as a mild-mannered, humble, loving person. They believe he is full of mercy and mostly thinks kind thoughts about people. I think all of these things are true about Jesus, but there is another side to Jesus that I think many overlook. He can get really ticked off, especially when it comes to sin. He hates sin! In Matthew 18 alone he has this to say:
- If anyone causes a child who believes in him to stumble, it would be better for them to have a heavy millstone hung around their neck and be drowned in the sea.
- If your hand or foot causes you to stumble, it is better to cut it off than to be cast into the eternal fire.
- If your eye causes you to stumble, it is better to pluck it out.
- If a brother sins, go and reprove him. If he doesn’t listen take one or two more with you to talk to him. If he still doesn’t listen, tell the whole church.
- He told a parable about a man who would not forgive a debt so the master was so angry that he handed him over to torturers until he would pay the debt. He then said his Father will do the same to you if you don’t forgive your brother.
Millstones around necks to drown people, cutting off hands and feet, plucking out eyes, telling the whole church that someone refuses to stop sinning, and handing people over to torturers if they don’t forgive tells me one thing. He’s serious! He’s not messing around. Sin really makes him upset. So my advice to you is: Don’t sin.
I chose to write devotions for the book of Matthew because I knew it would be easy to find something to write about. Matthew is loaded with nuggets to help you in life, but that has become my challenge to narrow down what to write about. I can’t pass up this little nugget in Matthew 19:9. It is about a subject that there is much disagreement about, but I believe this verse should not be ignored. Jesus said, “whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” We can debate what is meant by immorality or if this applies to someone who doesn’t want a divorce, but it seems pretty clear to me that you shouldn’t divorce your spouse and get remarried, unless your spouse has committed immorality (likely sexual immorality). I know some will say you can’t base the whole argument on a single verse and there is more to the story, but I would warn you that you better make sure this verse fits with your view on divorce and remarriage.
Another little nugget I want to mention has to do with children in the kingdom. I have struggled to understand if children who are not baptized will be in the kingdom. In fact, what happens to children who died at a young age, including those who were aborted? What about the children who are young when Jesus returns? Do they have a chance? How will their salvation be decided? I can’t say I have the answers to these questions, but Matthew 19:14 gives me some hope for their eternal wellbeing. Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” It sounds to me like there will be some children making it into the kingdom.
I won’t spend a lot of time on my last nugget (I’m pretty sure I already lost Mackenzie), but it is such a key concept that it needs to be mentioned. The last will be first, and the first will be last. Similarly, Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. I am not going to spend a lot of time explaining this to you because it is so simple to understand. Ditch the selfishness. Start living for God and others. Be honest with yourself and ask yourself this question, “Who am I living for?”
(Photo Credit: http://indulgy.com/post/znFZhGDqr2/matthew)