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God doesn’t play games about who is significant or less important in his family. 

Dan: (00:00)
Hi, everyone. And welcome to trading for life redeemed. I’m your host, Dan, as always, I’m sitting here with my father, David Jackson. We are continuing to have a look at the book of Matthew. We are up to chapter 18 today, and we’re only gonna focus on this single chapter Dad, cause there’s plenty of meat, I guess, in there. There’s plenty to talk about. so chapter 18, dad is gonna start off by talking about, you know, who is rated highest in the kingdom of God and how do you get the highest? So what does, what does Jesus mean here? Like he’s gonna talk about whoever humbles himself as a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. What does that mean? Do I just, just like, oh yeah. I’ll I mean, my kids aren’t humble.

David: (00:45)
It’s, that’s where I think people have misunderstood this section about children, quite dramatically. We’ve sort of got distracted into thinking about all the cute little qualities of children. My suggestion is go and do some babysitting with a two year old and you’ll discover that’s not what Jesus is talking about. so this is, this is about who is significant. Who’s important in the kingdom of God. And we grew up, we grew up in a society which ranks people and values people, I think at their money at their, what do we call them? Influencers. yeah, that’s a new word. these are, these are the people who are important and that’s not who Jesus thinks is important. So in here, this is about learning to be God’s forever family and in God’s forever family, everybody, is important. My father-in-law used to your grandpa used to, he was a real estate salesman. and he would say a thing is only worth what someone’s willing to pay for it.

David: (01:58)
And in his application of that as a godly man, his comment was which means you are worth what God was prepared to pay for you. Mm-hmm . Now, when we take that equation and we look at people, the insignificant, the bypassed, the ignored, the shunned suddenly become worth the same, as everybody else, I think this is a really cute scene because they’re back in Capernaum after the transfiguration they’ve been up north, they come back, it looks to me like they’re having a barbecue at Peter’s house. Yeah. So you’ve got the disciples are back, they’ve gone into the house, which I, because they don’t mention Mary or the brothers cuz they’re cranky. Yeah. with Jesus. Well they think he’s gone mad. They’ve gone to Peter’s house. I think. And Jesus is able to just reach over and pull a child in. Where did the child come from? Well, the answer and whose child am I pulling? You know, these would be people we know, and we are very, I think this is a, a family gathering of the 12 disciples and Jesus they’ve been away camping with Jesus. They’ve come back, which means they’re back with their families, which means we’re back having a Barbie together. And these would be one of the, probably one of Peter’s kids.

Dan: (03:24)
Yeah. And I, the other thing I’d add to this too, is that today, when we talk about the value and the place of kids, like it’s shifted a lot from where it used to be like, even as I grew up, like we weren’t number one , you know, in the family, whereas these days our culture has shifted so that everything revolves around the, the children in our, that are in our lives rather than children who kind of just fitting into everything else that’s going on in the family, that a lot of culturally we’ve shifted that. and so I think remembering that, you know, when you’re talking, we’re talking about children actually having a lesser place in society back then, like they, they’re not making way for the child and sitting there and

David: (04:06)
Go to any church. And the pressure is on. I remember the pressure being quite strong that we are in church. We don’t want the children disrupting things, get rid of the children. Mm. So the children all have to go off to children’s church so that the adults can have some peace and quiet. And if you watch television, ads, there’s a great ad at the minute for, you know, why is grandma here? And mum and dad jump in the car and drive off and leave the kids with grandma. and it’s called freedom.

Dan: (04:35)

David: (04:36)
And you go, why did you have kids? so when we, when we planted a church, as you, well remember we had the kids in church for the whole service. We had the international children’s Bible as our pulpit Bible. And we focused on pointing kids to Christ and the adults followed along under the philosophy. If the kids understand it, the adults will catch on it worked. Yeah. It worked. But that’s what Jesus is doing. You he’s pulling people who are ignored. People who are told to go away.

Dan: (05:08)

David: (05:08)
Okay. And he’s making them equal importance to Peter. So I think that reframes the whole way we look at people, and they are the people who God has created, loved and paid that ultimate price to redeem. Not that every child is saved. He’s not saying that, but don’t look at people and go, oh, you are not important. I, you know, I wanna follow the import. I’m gonna network with the important people. Yeah. try networking with the ones Jesus is interested in. Yeah. yeah.

Dan: (05:43)
All right. The next section we’re gonna move on to talks about. I mean, the Bible uses the word stumbling blocks. we’re not meant to put stumbling blocks in front of people. And then he talks about getting rid of your eye and the cutting off your hand, cutting off whatever else. But, you’re actually, we were chatting before this, about this actually not referring to stumbling blocks, but actually referring to essentially like a trigger plate and a trap.

David: (06:07)
Yeah. So, so I’ll just, I’ve got one here, which I will gently bring across. These are banned. I dunno whether the camera can see this. but these are banned in Australia. And so they jolly well ought to be they’re cruel, horrible things. Trapping an animal, was a cruel business. in Australia, they used to trap foxes and rabbits. but the, the word that Jesus is using is the word skandalon and the word scandal on refers to the trip plate, in an animal trap. So if you put your foot on the trip plate, the trap snaps shut, and when the trap snaps shut youre caught well with these particular traps, I remember as a child, these things being around, I remember being ‘warned, not to watch where I walk with these things. but I will demonstrate this thing if you,

Dan: (07:06)
Yeah. If you wanna come and look at the YouTube video, those of you are these things on the podcast. You’ll

David: (07:10)
Hear the sound and, and that’s enough.

Dan: (07:13)
I’m worried it’s gonna fall outta your hand while you do this.

David: (07:15)
Ah, look, you know, done this a few times, but the scene is that’s some poor animal’s leg.

Dan: (07:22)

David: (07:23)
Now, if you are caught in a trap and the farmer comes by and, you are caught in the trap, you’re dead. So a fox will chew his leg off to escape. That’s a horrible, horrible. That’s why these things are banned. They’re terrible. but Jesus is talking about exactly that. And he’s saying this, if you are going to be offended by Jesus, if you are going to, you know, take issue with Jesus, you are going to fall back into the bondage of sin and death. And you want to get out of there. You do not want, if, if you have a problem with Jesus, if you have a problem with the Bible, that’s going to put you in a place where you are trapped and you’re not gonna hear the grace. You’re not gonna hear the, the mercy that Jesus is pouring out for you. And you’re gonna stay there until judgment day, you know, better. You might find it offensive. You might find it violates your social values or something, but it’s the word of God don’t get trapped into some worldview that forces you to, or causes you to reject one word of what Jesus has said or what the, the Bible says. Yeah.

Dan: (08:37)
Yeah. So I mean, this passage follows that kind of imagery of, you know, don’t falling into your trap, cutting, like chewing through your foot to escape the trap. yeah.

David: (08:47)
He’s not suggesting you chew your legs off.

Dan: (08:49)
No. But then follow that up with the idea of, you know, Jesus talks about you, the celebration of finding a sheep that won a stray. And I mean, there’s part of me like, you know, sheep, that’s been a stray could have stepped in one of those traps. That’s right. and now it’s yeah, you go and you find it and you’re free it and you you’re rescuing it. And I think that’s, that’s great imagery to then see, well, of course, you’re gonna re celebrate the fact that the sheep didn’t die. Like you can’t do it.

David: (09:15)
This is, this is, this is the farmer who came to rescue and 99 sheep who think that they are, you know, God’s gift to the world and Jesus will go after the one that is lost. That is vulnerable. That is just out there and needs rescuing. Not because it’s a cute little lamb. If anybody, who farms sheep knows there’s smelly, stinky, stupid things. the going after that one, lamb is out of proportion to the 90, 90 left behind that, that, that one that you would normally look at and say, oh, well, I guess he’s lost. Forget him. God doesn’t forget him. He doesn’t, doesn’t forget. Anybody’s He’s after them. Uh that’s. That’s the grace that, that he’s demonstrating here. It’s not you. Don’t the ignored. The shun, the unimportant people, God is gonna go after them. Don’t fall into the trap of sin. Don’t don’t think this is a light business. you’ve gotta stay with Jesus. Stay with that grace. And of course, then that flows straight onto, well, what do you do? Because when you get to that lost sheep, he may well turn around and tell you to get lost. What do you do with him then? So lost sheep. Sheep are God’s people. How do they get lost? They walk away. Do you let people walk away? Well, Jesus, the great shepherd goes after them. I guess we should too. And that leads us to the next bit.

Dan: (10:51)
Yeah. Yeah. So in the next bit, when you go after the lost sheep and the, the sheep, because I don’t wanna come back, I don’t care that I’m lost. and so that’s the idea of church discipline then is yeah, they were part of the flock of Jesus and now they really, they don’t wanna be, essentially, but here just walk us through the basic process and what that looks like for us.

David: (11:10)
Yeah. It’s, it’s a wonderful process. I’ve seen it done once. I it’ll be written up in the notes, when I get them up on the website. But if you, if you get trapped in sin, if you give into sin and it leads you to walk away from Jesus and his people, God will go after you. But so should his people, this is family. We don’t lose family. We go after him. we wanna be reconciled. We wanna bring him back. And that’s, that’s a process. If it’s done. If the family relationships are important, people cannot stay away. It’s too great. A cost that they’ll sin. They’ll go away. I watched the family go through this at one stage. And the, the, the, the person who’d sin came back to the church and said, this is too much. It’s unbearable. I can’t six months.

David: (12:06)
And I’ve had no contact with people I grew up with and I love, I’ve gotta make a choice between what I wanted to do and my relationships with all these people and with God. Well, I guess I’m gonna have to give up what I wanted to do, because this is more important. Mm. And that’s the trap business happening? She came back. It was not a dry eye in the house, you know, great celebration, reconciling a marriage, reconciling families. That’s what the process is about to do it. You’ve gotta be brave to confront people, to bring witnesses, to go through a process with the church. But the whole aim is to bring that sheep back. And if at the end of that, they tell you to go jump in a lake, jump in a lake.

Dan: (12:52)
Yeah. Yeah, let ’em go.

David: (12:53)
We let, ’em go. And we pray. And we pray that natural consequences will work their way out in the Providence of God. And they’ll see that this is, you know, how’s life working out for you. I need to go back. the trap is, is not worth it.

Dan: (13:09)
All right. And then Peter’s gonna ask Jesus a question about how many times we need to forgive someone.

David: (13:17)
There are days .

Dan: (13:21)
Yeah. I look at though and think, you know, the number of times that my children sin against me and yeah. When would you stop forgiving? Like

David: (13:29)
It’s still your kids.

Dan: (13:30)
That’s right. Just, just keep going. As long as they’re coming back and saying, I’m sorry, you know, it’s like, it’s your, it’s kind of what you do. You want to like it’s and knowing that that’s what God wants. And then your, your role within that is to actually see the other person very similarly as their God’s child off,

David: (13:46)
We’ve been Christ, you know, representing Christ to our kids and to those shunned and lost and marginalized and people who are not valued. That’s, that’s the whole nature of the kingdom of God. It’s countercultural. So we, we go in love. We go in grace and there’s a beautiful contrast here. Back in Genesis four, Lamech takes a second wife. So he’s introducing polygamy into the world. Well, I’ll have any woman. I like you’re cute. Come over here. oh, you’ve got a husband or a fiance, problem solved bang. You’re dead.

Dan: (14:21)

David: (14:22)
So Lamech is boasting of his power to take any woman. He likes and kill any man that gets in the way. And he says, you know, if God, if Cain is Aven 70 times, Lamech is avenged 77 times. You mess with God, you get seven. You mess with me. You get 77. And Jesus turns around and flips that on its head and says, you’ll forgive 77. Not take vengeance 77. Leave that to the Lord. Yeah. It’s, it’s a wonderful picture of grace.

Dan: (14:50)
Well, now that brings us to the end of chapter 18. And the end of this episode, if you enjoyed this episode, we would love for you to leave us a review. If you wanna grab the study notes that go along with this episode, they will be up by the time the episode is out. head over to Yeah. Yeah. And please make sure you hit the subscribe button, come back and join us again. Next week, when we are talking about chapter 19, where we’re, we are looking at divorce children and you know, why is this rich young ruler coming to, ask Jesus how to get into heaven? See you, then it’s all good.