Unless You Become Like Children



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  • Unless You Become Like Children

    Unless You Become Like Children

    Word of the Cross Bible Study – March 14th, 2012

    While on the way to “the house” in Capernaum (likely the home of Peter and Andrew), the disciples argued about who among them was the greatest. After Jesus and the disciples entered the house, he brought up the subject of greatness. Although he was fully aware of their discussion among themselves, he asked them what they had argued about on the road. They appear to have been embarrassed about the incident and did not respond. (Mark 9:33, 34; Luke 9:46)

    Jesus then used the opportunity to teach them about the meaning of greatness in the “kingdom of the heavens,” the realm where his Father is Sovereign. He seated himself and invited the twelve apostles to come to him. In the “kingdom of the heavens,” greatness differed markedly from the kingdoms of the world, where those in positions of prominence and power issue commands and had servants serve them. On account of the environment in which they had grown up, the apostles shared this view of greatness. According to Luke 9:47, Jesus knew the “reasoning of their heart,” suggesting that their understanding of greatness reflected their inmost thoughts. Therefore, it must have been very startling for them to hear Jesus’ explanation of greatness. Anyone who wanted to be first or occupy the foremost position would have to conduct himself as being “last of all” or the most insignificant and make himself the “servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)

    To provide the apostles with an object lesson about true greatness, Jesus asked a child in the home to come to him. The boy would have been an example of the essential attributes Jesus wanted his disciples to associate with greatness in God’s kingdom. In expression of his affection for the boy, Jesus had him stand beside him and put his arms around him.

    Read Matthew 18:1-5 "At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me..."

    "Who is the greatest in the kingdom, of heaven?" - By the kingdom of heaven they meant the kingdom which they supposed he was about to set up - his kingdom as the Messiah. They asked the question because they supposed, in accordance with the common expectation of the Jews, that he was about to set up a temporal kingdom of great splendor, and they wished to know who should have the principal offices, and posts of honor and profit. This was among them a frequent subject of inquiry and controversy.

    Read Mark 10:35-45 “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    “What's in it for me”? A common inquiry among those, even in the faith.

    "unless you turn or converted..." - The Revised Version translates, Except you turn, which is correct. The Greek word strepho translated in the active voice in every instance but one, and means to turn. It means something that the subject is to do, not something that is to be done for him.

    That we should turn from that gain of a temporal kingdom; and from all our vain views of honor, recognition, wealth, and riches. The first step toward entering into the kingdom of grace, is to become as little children: lowly in heart, knowing yourselves utterly ignorant and helpless, and hanging wholly on your Father in heaven, for a supply of all your wants and needs. Except we become entirely, inwardly changed, moving toward being renewed in the image of Christ, we cannot enter into the kingdom of glory. Thus must every soul be converted from self to heavenward in this life, or he can never enter into life eternal.

    Many love to hear and speak of privileges and glory, but few are willing to consider the thought of all the work and troubles. Our Lord set a little child before them, solemnly assuring them, that unless they were converted and made like little children, they could not enter his kingdom. Children, when very young, do not despise authority, do not regard outward distinctions, are free from malice or the desire to cause pain, and are teachable and willing, and wholly dependent on their guardians as their providers. It is true that they soon begin to show other dispositions, and other ideas are taught them at an early age, however it is the trust in utter simplicity that the Lord was pressing. Surely we need to be daily renewed in the spirit or our hearts and minds that we may become simple and humble, as little children, willing to be the least of all. We should daily study this teaching, and examine our own spirits in light of it.

    "whoever humbles himself like this child..." - Whoever shall have not thoughts of himself, and prefer others to himself, shall behave in a modest humble manner, not seeking dominion over others, or treating his brethren in a haughty and superior manner, with scorn and contempt; but be willing to befriend those not often considered, willing to place himself in the lowest service, conversing with his others freely, without prejudice or distinction.

    "The same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" - as spoken by the Apostle Paul, though not one of the twelve: nor are these words limited to them; at least, this passage may be illustrated in his case: he thought himself to be the chief of sinners, and less than the least of all saints, and unworthy to be called an apostle; yet had the largest measures of grace, the greatest gifts and abilities; and was honored with the greatest usefulness and success in the preaching of the Gospel to the conversion of sinners, and planting of churches; laboring more abundantly than they all.

    Read 1 Peter 5:6-7 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."

  • #2
    Traducción al español | Spanish translation by Translator Source

    A menos que sean como niños

    Estudio Bíblico del grupo Iglesia en Casa ‘Word of the Cross’ (14 de marzo, 2012)

    En el camino a “la casa” en Capernaum (posiblemente la casa de Pedro y Andrés), los discípulos discutían sobre quién de ellos era el más importante. Ya dentro de la casa, Cristo habló sobre este tema y aunque sabía muy bien lo que hablaban, les preguntó sobre qué discutían. Los discípulos se sintieron avergonzados sobre el incidente y no respondieron (Marcos 9:33, 34; Lucas 9:46)

    Cristo aprovechó entonces la oportunidad de enseñarles sobre el significado de la grandeza en el “Reino de los Cielos”, el lugar donde su Padre es Soberano. Allí, la grandeza es muy distinta de como la entienden los reinos de la tierra: quienes están en puestos de distinción y poder dan las órdenes y tienen sirvientes que trabajan para ellos. Debido al ambiente en el que habían crecido, los apóstoles compartían esta visión sobre la grandeza. Según Lucas 9:47, Jesús “sabía el pensamiento de sus corazones” lo que indica que su comprensión de la grandeza se veía reflejada en sus pensamientos más recónditos. Por esto debe haberlos sorprendido mucho escuchar a Jesús explicar qué es la grandeza: todos los que quisieran ocupar el puesto más importante debían conducirse “como el menos importante” o el más insignificante y hacerse “servidor de todos” (Marcos 9:35).

    Con el objetivo de dar a los apóstoles una lección práctica sobre verdadera grandeza, Jesús le pidió a un niño acercarse: este niño era el ejemplo de los atributos esenciales que Jesús quería que sus discípulos asociaran con la grandeza en el reino de Dios.

    Leer Mateo 18:1-5: “En aquella misma ocasión los discípulos se acercaron a Jesús y le preguntaron: “¿Quién es el más importante en el reino de los cielos?” Jesús llamó entonces a un niño, lo puso en medio de ellos y dijo: “Les aseguro que si ustedes no cambian y se vuelven como un niño, no entrarán en el reino de los cielos. El más importante en el reino de los cielos es el que se humilla y se vuelve como un niño. Y el que recibe en mi nombre a un niño como éste, me recibe a mí…”

    “¿Quién es el más importante en el reino de los cielos?”: Ellos entendían el reino de los cielos como el que, suponían, Cristo iba a establecer como Mesías. Hicieron esta pregunta porque entendían, según las expectativas del pueblo judío, que este reino iba a ser terrestre y de gran esplendor, y querían saber quién iba a tener los principales puestos de honra y conveniencia. Este tema salía a relucir con frecuencia entre ellos por su curiosidad, y generaba no poca controversia.

    Leer Marcos 10:35-45: “Entonces Jacobo y Juan, hijos de Zebedeo, se le acercaron, diciendo: Maestro, querríamos que nos hagas lo que pidiéremos. Él les dijo: ¿Qué queréis que os haga? Ellos le dijeron: Concédenos que en tu gloria nos sentemos el uno a tu derecha, y el otro a tu izquierda. Entonces Jesús les dijo: No sabéis lo que pedís. ¿Podéis beber del vaso que yo bebo, o ser bautizados con el bautismo con que yo soy bautizado? Ellos dijeron: Podemos. Jesús les dijo: A la verdad, del vaso que yo bebo, beberéis, y con el bautismo con que yo soy bautizado, seréis bautizados; pero el sentaros a mi derecha y a mi izquierda, no es mío darlo, sino a aquellos para quienes está preparado. Cuando lo oyeron los diez, comenzaron a enojarse contra Jacobo y contra Juan. Mas Jesús, llamándolos, les dijo: Sabéis que los que son tenidos por gobernantes de las naciones se enseñorean de ellas, y sus grandes ejercen sobre ellas potestad. Pero no será así entre vosotros, sino que el que quiera hacerse grande entre vosotros será vuestro servidor, y el que de vosotros quiera ser el primero, será siervo de todos. Porque el Hijo del Hombre no vino para ser servido, sino para servir, y para dar su vida en rescate por muchos.”

    “Qué obtengo yo”?: Una pregunta frecuente entre nosotros, incluso entre los creyentes.

    "si ustedes no cambian o se vuelven...": La frase “a menos que se conviertan” es correcta, el sujeto es activo, realiza esta acción, no la recibe desde el exterior, según el original griego de la palabra strepho.
    Implica volvernos desde la conveniencia de un reino temporal y desde todas nuestras perspectivas vanas del honor, reconocimiento, riqueza. El primer paso para entrar en el reino de la gracia es convertirnos en niños: humildes de corazón, reconociéndonos totalmente ignorantes e imposibilitados y dependiendo sólo de nuestro Padre celestial para proveer todas nuestras necesidades y deseos. A menos que nuestro interior sea transformado en su totalidad, avanzando hacia la renovación a la imagen de Cristo, no podemos entrar en su reino de gloria. Así todas las almas deben convertirse, desde una perspectiva basada en sí mismas, hacia una perspectiva basada en el cielo, de lo contrario no pueden entrar en la vida eterna.

    A muchos les gusta oír y escuchar de privilegios y gloria, pero pocos están dispuestos a pensar sobre lo que cuestan y las dificultades que conllevan. Nuestro Señor puso a un niño ante ellos, asegurándoles solemnemente que a menos que cambiaran y se convirtieran en niños, no podrían entrar en su reino. Los niños cuando pequeños no desean autoridad, no hacen distinción de persona según su apariencia, son libre de malicia o del deseo de causar dolor; son moldeables, se les puede enseñar, y dependen completamente de quienes les cuidan. Es verdad que pronto empiezan a mostrar otras disposiciones y se les enseñan otras ideas a una edad muy temprana, pero es la confianza en total simplicidad lo que el Señor quería enfatizar. Es cierto que necesitamos diariamente ser renovados en el espíritu o en nuestros corazones y mentes para llegar a ser sencillos y humildes, como niños, dispuestos a ser el menos importante de todos. Debiéramos estudiar esta enseñanza diariamente y examinar nuestro propio espíritu a la luz de ella.

    "Cualquiera que se humille como este niño...": Todo el que no se considere a sí mismo y prefiera a otros en vez de sí mismo, debe comportarse de forma modesta y humilde, no buscando dominar a otros o tratando a sus hermanos con altivez y aires de superioridad, con desprecio y desconsideración, sino estar dispuesto a crear amistad con quienes frecuentemente no son considerados, dispuesto a colocarse en el lugar más bajo y conversando con aquellos libremente, sin prejuicio o distinción.

    "Éste es el más importante en el reino de los cielos": Tal como lo declaró el apóstol Pablo, aunque no fue uno de los doce, estas palabras no se limitan a los discípulos, y se puede ilustrar este hecho cuando él mismo se consideraba a sí mismo el peor de los pecadores, el menor de todos los santos y no merecía llamarse apóstol, aunque tenía gracia en abundancia, los mejores dones y habilidades y había sido honrado con el mayor servicio y éxito al predicar el Evangelio en cuanto a la conversión de los pecadores, plantando iglesias y trabajando muchísimo más que todos los discípulos.

    Leer 1 Pedro 5:6-7: "Humillaos, pues, bajo la poderosa mano de Dios, para que él os exalte cuando fuere tiempo; echando toda vuestra ansiedad sobre él, porque él tiene cuidado de vosotros."


    • #3
      Second Study on Matthew 18:3

      "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3

      Unless you are converted - Turned from proud, ambitious thoughts of worldly dignity, reputation, and its temporal gains. Changed from the obsession of earthly pursuits and of burning for great attainment, ardent pursuits of worldly delight and from all vanities that seek of honor, wealth, and riches. The conversion here spoken of is about the change in the present state of mind effecting the heart - to a new direction altering the thoughts and passions. The apostles had shown rivalry, jealousy, ambition, but they had to turn away from such earthly bantering and choose the selfless path.

      Become as little children - Christ points to little children as the model to which the adherents of his kingdom must assimilate themselves. The special attributes of children which he would point out is humility, no concern of worldly gain, simplicity, teachableness which is the direct opposite of self-seeking, worldliness, distrust, conceit. A transformed heart is marked by a modest opinion of self, not envious of one another, and one who refuse contentions about primacy and being right, and all ambitious views about attaining a reputation among men.

      You will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven - Meaning Christ’s visible, spiritual kingdom, which did appear after his resurrection, upon his ascension to heaven, and pouring forth of the Spirit. In the sermon on the mount Christ had said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). To all who are not such the gates will not swing open. The virtue of humility which is unnatural to the unconverted heart, is the heart of servitude in preference of others. Christ here asserts this to be the only entry to his living Church on earth or its eternal place in heaven. Not the self-esteemed, proud person in adoration of mankind's wisdom and accomplishments, but the humble, the lowly, the simple servant happy to be unknown, is the soul who can realize their position in the heavenly kingdom, and shall be admitted to its blessings and benefits.

      After the extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the apostles were empowered by the aid of the Holy Spirit to subdue the passions and lust of worldly enticements, and understood the spiritual nature of Christ's Kingdom; which they then entered into, and took their place and functioned with great spiritual success, without envying one another; having received the same commission from their Lord and Master.

      "For many are called, but few are chosen" Matthew 22:14. Many are they that will hear these biblical truths, but not really want to abide in them for still being in love with the world. “Don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” James 4:4. We then only have this choice, to submit to the biblical standard of transformation or to turn aside to our own ways and forfeit the promise. Should we not repent, to turn about and seek the Lord’s face while He can be found? To ask for his touch to transform our minds and hearts? We should pray for a change of heart and to be embellished with the Spirit.


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