Become Like Children
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: In a moment of candor and intimacy, Jesus informs his disciples, who have been traveling with him for three years, that he will soon die. Specifically, he will be delivered into the hands of men and they will kill him. Naturally, upon hearing the news, the disciples are devastated. Crushed. But … it doesn’t take them long to recover. Only moments later, they start arguing about who’s the greatest in the kingdom. And, it’s an argument that Jesus settles in the most unlikely of ways: with an object lesson.
Questions For Discussion & Discovery
1. In what sense does Jesus call his disciples to “turn” in verse 3?
2. How were children viewed in the first-century Greco-Roman world? Why does this perception matter when interpreting this passage?
3. The Puritan preacher, Thomas Watson, said that for some people “their morality undoes them.” What do you think he meant? Do you agree?
4. How would you define humility? How does Christ’s example in Philippians 2:1-11 shape your understanding?
5. What are some ways that you try to monitor and improve your personal status? What relief does Jesus offer from such endeavors?
6. How does the gospel differ from religion? Why does the former actually put an end to the latter?
1. Read Matthew 18:1-5.
2. Here are the five Great Discourses: 1st – Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7), 2nd – Discourse on Mission (Mt. 10), 3rd – Parabolic Discourse (Mt. 13), 4th – Discourse on the Church (Mt. 18), & 5th – Olivet Discourse (Mt. 23-25)
3. “Against this backdrop of impressive persons, Jesus will select a type that is striking for being unstriking.”
4. This phenomenon crossed all class, ethnic and gender boundaries. It shaped the view of childhood itself as liminal, vulnerable, dependent, and in some ways skirting the boundaries of human existence.” – Cornelia Horn & John Martens
5. 01. To become like a child means acknowledging our utter helplessness and rejecting any attempt to be good enough on our own.
6. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” – Philippians 3:8
7. Read Matthew 18:4.
8. “This humbling of oneself to which Jesus calls disciples means, quite practically, giving oneself willingly to insignificance, powerlessness, weakness, and especially rejecting hierarchical honors.” – Ulrich Luz
9. 02. To become like a child then means to abandon our quest for status (apart from Christ).
03. Greatness in God’s eyes is not measured by giftedness or position; it is reserved for those who exemplify childlike faith and dependence.
Read Matthew 18:5.
12. Read Matthew 18:6.