Matthew 18 – Life Between Moments

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Today’s PassageMatthew 18

We all know we’re going to die someday, but life goes on. And in today’s chapter, although Jesus is well aware that he’ll meet an untimely end at the hands of his enemies and has said as much to the disciples, he goes on teaching and telling parables. Facing our limited lifespans has a way of making us prioritize what we do here on earth, but Jesus…kind of takes an interlude here to tell his disciples stuff about sheep and debts and stuff.

Jesus isn’t obsessed with accomplishing things. He takes time for people; he takes time for kids. As he brings a kid over and tells the disciples, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (18:3), I can’t help recalling all the times he healed children. You wouldn’t even have to look back far. Just flip back a chapter and look at the boy he exorcised a demon from (17:14-21), right after the transfiguration. You may also recall that Matthew only records one person that Jesus raised from the dead (9:18-31), and guess what? It’s a young girl. And Jesus’ answer to the disciples question kinda suggests that we’re all like kids to God, and we all need healing through Jesus Christ.

And that brings us to the sheep thing. Jesus tells a brief story of a shepherd who goes searching for a single missing sheep from his flock. Is ninety-nine sheep a lot of sheep? I don’t know. But the shepherd doesn’t apply some utilitarian calculus of risks vs. rewards, the greatest good for the greatest number of sheep. He goes after that one missing, because each sheep matters. And there are a lot more human beings throughout all time and space than just ninety-nine. So when Jesus says, “The Son of Man has come to save that which was lost” (18:11), that’s all of us. Each one matters, and for each one he’s prepared to go to the grave.

Y’know, I’m just going to wrap it up there. Hope you enjoyed the interlude, everyone. Next chapter we’re back to Pharisee beef.

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