February 20 – Chronological Life of Jesus Day 37
I have a confession, I adore the movie “Rise of the Guardians”. I could watch it over and over, matter of fact, I do. One of my favorite quotes: “Who are you Jack Frost? What is your center? If man in moon chose you, you must have something very special inside.” Of course, I can’t help but think of Jesus and envision him speaking directly to me. Identity is everything, but what is your center? Is it loving, gentle, submissive, compassionate, humble, forgiving, selfless, sacrificial, *child-like*?
READ: Matthew 18
This chapter is full of emotion. We got a taste of the first 9 verses reading both Luke and Mark 9. The next four verses will present themselves again in Luke 15, and the remaining verses are not spoken of in any of the other gospels.
So overview for verses 1-9, now honed in on Jesus’ secrets, to be in child-likeness *humble and not demand a rank of authority* (yikes, this screams – control and pride) and be the one who is willing to forgive the most (yikes, this too screams – control and pride). Pretty easy not to want all of the control and stand proud, right? Obviously not. We’re seeing this warning for the third time. How do you handle these sorts of situations that arise? Do you struggle with wanting to be first and not play second fiddle? The reassurance I felt and hope you did too was Jesus’ gentle and caring character, wanting NO ONE to fail.
In verses 10-14, we continue to see that loving, gentle, sacrificing character. The angles in heaven love God so much that they never take their eyes off of Him. In verse 10, God expresses His love for us by allowing the believers to be served by his angels “in general”. This “angel” is not meant to be taken as a guardian angel but angels that belong to Him. Jesus is wanting us to be as attentive as His angels, desiring His direction and waiting for His command. Doesn’t that just shout, I LOVE YOU?!
In verses 11-17, we get more of Jesus’ genuine love for those who have gone astray. Jesus knew that once we experience his life-changing power, we might be harsh and have less patience with others who choose to continue to live their lives without him. We often forget that it was His goodness and love that brought us to Him and repentance. After the transformation, we may have a tendency to become judgmental towards the “lost”. Jesus loves enthusiasm and good attitudes, definitely not hostility.
In the remaining verses, this parable shows more love extended, but the same amount of love is expected in return. Jesus wants us to understand that our debt is not repayable and that we cannot earn our salvation. It’s defined as grace, and the gift is free. Jesus is teaching that forgiveness should be in like balance to the amount forgiven. I would be willing to say that *the one who is willing to forgive the most* rule is to be applied here.
My center has been prideful, harsh, and unforgiving. You chose me, make my center like Yours, for always.
Dear Lord, thank You so much for settling my account. I don’t care if I can repay You. I want to forever be indebted to You; what an investment! I desire nothing but You and Your command.