“Come, follow me.” — Jesus (Matthew 4:19)
We are following Jesus through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, wrapping up on Easter on April 1st. We’ll be hopping around the four gospels for a chronological perspective of Jesus’ life on earth. Join our study by reading today’s scripture below and journaling about it using SOAP (click on the “What’s SOAP?” link above to learn more). Below today’s scripture is an example SOAP from our team. We love hearing from you! Please use the comment section of our website to share your SOAP, thoughts or questions on the reading, or prayer requests. Join us as we build unity and community through God’s Word!
The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
Causing to Stumble
6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! 8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
The Parable of the Wandering Sheep
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. 
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
Dealing With Sin in the Church
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[f] loosed in heaven.
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Prayer for V | Becky Newman
Jesus is teaching about His Kingdom and how it is very different than our world. He shows value in children, that we as adults should be more like them in our acceptance of authority and faith. Verse 5 says we should treat kids like we would treat Jesus. The verses following this talk about our punishment if we don’t treat kids well.
I’ve heard some horrible stories that have happened to kids I teach in kids ministry, and I know there are more in there who have experienced ill-treatment that I’m not aware of. Add one more. A few years ago I helped a friend with an overseas adoption. They chose a boy who was in a special needs orphanage, then hoped that it was by mistake he was there. It wasn’t. He showed signs of fetal alcohol syndrome at the least but more likely mom used drugs while pregnant with him; he also had physical deformities that needed U.S. doctors, and he was older and didn’t speak English. This made the transition to his new family and new country difficult. The stress led to other issues, soon divorce, and eventually, as I learned yesterday, abandonment…again. He is now in the foster care system. I loved on this kid and prayed for him so much, and my heart is broken for him. I was thinking about why You chose to reveal this to me. You sometimes give me glimpses of kids I’ve loved on through kids ministry or coaching or past friendships, and I’m so thankful for that! But this time, I feel You are needing me to take a special backstage role for him of prayer warrior, because who else in his life will? I know that You work all things for good, and I believe that You didn’t bring V all the way to the U.S. for him to get lost in the foster system. I believe that You have left the 99 and are chasing down this one little lamb to bring him back and place him into a family that’s going to love him like they love You. I believe You are making sure that he gets to the right doctors to make the surgery he needs happen. I know that You are aligning all of these things right now because You have a beautiful plan for him that involved all of those steps in his short life, the ugly included, to get him to right here, right now. All You want me to do is pray for V.
Lord, I pray deeply for V, and I pray verse 5 for him, for someone to welcome him in Jesus’ Name and to love him like Jesus does. I pray that this family will come alongside him soon. Please protect him, Lord. I’ll hold the shield for him until he’s strong enough to pick it up on his own. (If you’re reading this today, would you pray for V too?)
The Discover One Thing main website follows a reading plan that goes through the entire Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.