The Greatest in the Kingdom – Matthew 18:1-9
Who are the greatest today in the churches and are they likely also to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,
3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
6 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire.
9 “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.
10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
Food for Thought
1. Who is the greatest person you know currently living today and why?
2. What one thing would you like to accomplish in this lifetime?
3. What charming qualities do children possess?
4. What do you miss the most about being a little kid?
5. What question did the disciples ask Jesus? (18:1)
6. What did Jesus do to illustrate his answer to the disciples’ question? (18:2)
7. What does Jesus say one has to be like in order to enter the kingdom of heaven? (18:3)
8. How does Jesus finally answer the question that was put to him? (18:4)
9. What quality makes for true greatness? (18:4)
10. Why does Jesus say a person’s treatment of children is significant? (18:5)
11. What advice does Jesus give to those who would cause a young follower of Christ to sin? (18:6)
12. What comment does Jesus make that suggests the inevitability of sin in this world? (18:7)
13. What radical figures of speech does Jesus use to show the severity of sin? (18:8-9)
14. What are the consequences of sin? (18:8-9)
15. What was presumptuous about the disciples’ question?
16. Why did the disciples need to be converted and become as little children?
17. Why does the coming of the kingdom of heaven require our repentance?
18. What does it mean that the disciples wanted to be “the greatest” in the kingdom.
19. Who are the greatest today in the churches and are they likely also to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
20. What are the implications of a believer being ambitious in this world?
21. What would happen if people were to stop competing with one another?
22. What is it about children that Jesus wants us to emulate?
23. How does age and maturity cause us to lose our innocence and sense of humility?
24. What would happen if within five years Nigeria were to become one of the most developed countries in the world?
25. Why are both the offender and the offended in trouble according to Jesus?
26. How can our hand, foot or eye cause us to sin?
27. Can one look, one touch or one step cost us eternal life?
28. How can we cause others to sin?
29. Why is causing little children to sin such a serious offence?
30. What prevents us from being more childlike in our faith?
31. What childlike qualities do you need to recapture and why?
32. What does this passage tell us about the Catholic designation of Peter as the head of the church?
33. What can you do today to humble yourself?
34. What habits or actions do you need to abolish this week because of their negative influence on children?