“And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18: 3-4
Matthew 17-18 (Psalm 89)
The Gospel of Matthew is often concerned with proving that Jesus fulfills the many Old Testament prophecies in relation to the Messiah. Jesus Himself has already taught that He has come to fulfill the law and the prophets (5: 17). In the Transfiguration God’s power confirms this with the physical representation of the Law and the Prophets in Moses and Elijah. His voice assures us of Jesus’ identity as God’s beloved Son and states that we need to listen to Him. The theme of prophecy continues as Jesus affirms that John the Baptist was the prophesied Elijah, the forerunner to the Messiah. Jesus in turn then prophesies about His own death and resurrection (twice).
The power of the transfigured Christ over the spiritual realm and the physical world is then demonstrated (the healing of a demon possessed boy and control over the fish in the sea). Jesus has brought the Kingdom of God to the world. He teaches how entry to this Kingdom, and access to its power, is through faith and humble service (17: 20-21; 18: 1-4). Life in this Kingdom and relationship with God will bring about a changed life. A child of God should: be a good citizen of this world (17: 24-27); hate and reject sin in their own life (18: 8-9); not be a stumbling block to others (18: 5-7); care for the family of God (18: 10-14); forgive others in the Church; and adhere to Church discipline (18: 15-20).
The Church is the body of Christ, home to His Spirit and kin, responsible for His mission of reconciliation. His power enables us in this life, purpose and witness. When we meet together He is present. We are to live out His calling of witness in word and deed; living as good citizens, seeking the lost, rejecting sin and forgiving others as He has forgiven us. A real challenge in our times for many different reasons! Faith though, can move mountains!!
The Question of Application
Do you recognise the essential nature and purpose of God’s Church? Do you love the Church as Christ does and have you given yourself up for her (Ephesians 5: 25)?
Almighty Father, whose blessed Son before His passion prayed for His disciples that they might be one, as you and He are one: Grant that your Church, being bound together in love and obedience to you, may be united in one body by the one Spirit, that the world may believe in Him whom you have sent, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
We are the Body - Brook Hills Music
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.