Vs. 1, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” In our human pride, we like to create a pecking order. Jesus would remind his disciples (vs. 1-9) and us that we are to have a child-like humility and sincere heart towards the Lord and others. Likewise, we must be very careful not to cause the children of God to stumble beause of our actions (vs. 6). In the parable of the lost sheep (vs. 10-14), it is a wonderful reminder that God cares for each of us individually. And as God cares for us, it’s only natural that Jesus would now put an emphasis on caring and forgiving each other (vs. 15-20). And to top this lesson off, Jesus gives us the parable of the unmerciful servant (vs. 21-35). If God can forgive us of our immense sin, how much more can we forgive others when they sin against us?
Regarding application…Forgiving. Vs. 21, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” In the Jewish tradition of the day….the rule was “three strikes and you’re out!” So, Peter was pretty generous when he claimed to forgive someone up to seven times instead of three. Of course, we know Jesus’ response…we must forgive without limit (vs. 22). When I think about our churches today and even my own experience…we are quick to share about love. But after someone wrongs us, we naturally start withholding our love. How sad it must be for God to see his children go about their lives with animosity and unforgiveness in their lives. None of us are perfect, that’s why we need to forgive each other. Question: Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? Is there someone in your life you have to ask to be forgiven? Let love cover over a multitude of sins. (I Peter 4:8)
Vs. 1-2, “This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD : “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” Over thirty words in the Hebrew vocabulary relate directly to pottery, because the manufacture of pottery was a major industry in the Near East in that day. No doubt Jeremiah had passed the potter’s house many times, but this time God had a special message for him. God is the potter, we are the clay. Even in the chaos of sin, God would show Jeremiah’s His true intentions for His people. We see the grace of God. But, Jeremiah is getting fed up with the people’s response to God’s grace. God’s clay would resist the potter. They would conspire against both God & Jeremiah. We see Jeremiah’s angered response, but I believe it is a righteous anger, much like Jesus’ response in the temple…a response of vindication rather than revenge.
Regarding application…God’s Path. Vs. 15, “Yet my people have forgotten me; they burn incense to worthless idols, which made them stumble in their ways and in the ancient paths. They made them walk in bypaths and on roads not built up.” Instead of walking on God’s path, they chose to make their own detours and paths. Question: What made them go down these Godless paths? Of course, sin nature, but look how specific Jeremiah is in this verse. The answer is found in “worthless idols”. You see, we may think we are still on God’s path (much like they did)…but when we devote our time & energy on things not of God…we unknowingly take a wrong turn on the road of life. Remember from our “Elevate” Retreat…God often hates the things we love. God’s path is not easy to follow. For we know God’s word is a lamp unto our feet…and the only way to walk His path is to be filled with His Word! It is a path of discipline, perseverance & strife…but it is also a path filled with love & joy! I pray you would never stumble from this path of God…but if you do, don’t ever forget that God’s way begins back with His word! You can have an emotional high or even spiritual high at times in your life that may bring you back to the path…but you can only stay on it by His Word!