Faithlife Sermons

Matthew 17:22-18:14

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Puzzling Ways

At home Jesus asks Peter about the taxes and who do the kings of earth collect from their sons or the others.
#1 Peter gave an obvious answer but what was Jesus’ point?
In the OT God taxed the Jews to maintain the temple so that must mean by way of Peter’s answer that the Jews were not God’s sons. So the Israelites were claiming to be sons when they were not. They confidently claimed to be sons through Abraham even though Abraham’s relationship with God was based on faith not the law. So Jesus was pointing out that they had lost the very kingdom they were calling to accept through faith in Christ.
The miraculous way Jesus provided for the tax to be paid is just crazy to think about. I mean really, thousands upon thousands of fish in the sea and Jesus tells him the coin will be in the first fish’s mouth. Jesus’ followers are also told that it should be paid not because they owe it but to make sure they don’t upset anyone by not paying it. It was a drachma and the exact amount to pay for two adult males.
Right after this miracle the disciples let pride creep in and ask who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. It was also written about in Luke and Mark chapter 9. This argument about who is better gets Jesus to provide some teaching to them on humility, the value of spiritual children and the need for holy living. Have you ever had dreams of being so dedicated to the gospel of Christ that you were going to become a great ....? Sure, we all dream. So is dreaming of grandeur wrong? No I don’t think so if your heart is purely looking for greater service to Jesus. I think what is more important than wanting to be great is to first grasp what greatness really is. Sometimes our vision of becoming great is clouded by our looking up and instead we should be on a journey that takes us to a place where we are looking downward in humility. Because greatness is submitting to God and in servitude to others .
#2 When do you think greatness comes?
Greatness comes only when we humble ourselves to trusting completely our King’s every call. This is truly difficult when we are filled with such a nature as ours.
Jesus wants us all to be protected as one of his little ones. We are the ones who have responded to Jesus’ invitation and put our trust in Him. We are His children so we should remain responsive to His word. We are that important to Him and He illustrates that in the parable of the lost sheep. When the shepherd finds the lost sheep he doesn’t scold or punish it but welcomes it into the fold. So we see faith doesn’t make us great but responding to Jesus’ call to care about His little ones does.
#3 This Sunday at church make it a point to look for a new face, a new believer and welcome them into the fold.
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