18 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.
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.
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.
The Blessing goes back to 1400 B.C. Aaron, Brother of Moses.
And the Graciousness of God is sought.
And Willingly Bestowed.
Not like the Litmus test of far right and far left with agenda, agenda, agenda.
The Centeredness of Joshua and the Lord God Almighty, maker of Heaven and earth. All things are His.
If you could sit down to speak with Jesus and being overcome with awe, wonder and some reverent fear - like the Disciples were for years. You might revert to the discussion of the news, to have some groundwork for deeper conversations. Rather human, rather like Nicodemus. Jesus would go with the conversation. St. Paul would as well. Peter too.
And in our wildest dreams, do we believe Jesus is going to unload any fault of Mohammad Ali with someone other than Mohammad Ali? Disparage? Jesus did not specify Caiaphas or Ananias. Jesus once referred, as a regular human, to the fact his John the Baptist killer was a wily fox. And that was His Family. He did not spew and was not ungracious.
Jesus might be very interested in a man like Mohammad Ali as he was the Centurion. A man of faith. Promoting solutions of faith. Without a doubt, I believe Jesus is the one path to God's Salvation. And I know Cassius Marcellus Clay was raised by a Methodist father and Baptist mother. And I believe Salvation is a work of God.
The traits Jesus might proclaim to us, about this child of His, would be: optimism, unabashed faith, good works, endurance, unwillingness to pour down negativity for his own choices. An encourager of others. A believer in his faith and determination; he would have courage, perseverance, hope, character and faith.
Jesus is gracious. Always was the most gracious of us. Son of God.
26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to the widow of Zarephath in Sidon. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
Jesus expands borders. Encompasses healthy goodness. Is Inclusive. Loving.
Now, perhaps, the conversation with Jesus would ask about the murder of singer Christina Grimmie. A hate crime. Jesus might weep. Particularly for the separation. The emotional pain. Christina adjusts to Paradise with Jesus. Today.
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.
Jesus understands. This is not new to Him. Sin is part of this life, defining our choices. To join haters and fearers. To Trust God. To believe we will live Life Abundantly.
Every Chapter of the Book of Revelation is about Jesus adjusting to violence in the world yesterday, today and tomorrow. Several chapters are on the pain of Father God to have a child who takes the lives of others as if that person were God. God shows hurt in these Chapters and He Creates the Universe. Something we do not.
One would hope that the reader did not zip down to this portion when there are 3,000 pages in the Bible.
What did Jesus say?
The widow of Nain had one son.
Jesus Lives. Jesus went to Weddings. His first miracle was making wine. The Jesus People? God only picks one variety. Sinners. God discusses living this life with Grace upon Grace when not one of the Children of God, minus John, fully try to walk all of the Life of Jesus. Jesus prized the people who put the feelings of others in deep concern with mercy.
I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.
What would Jesus say is the most conspicuous thing here? The most difficult thing of all. Words brought forth by the tongue. The bravery of speaking up does not always win favor. And yet Mohammad Ali found favor by being diligent. If your child (husband, cousin, neighbor) wants to be God and kill people, keep telling people until help is found.
God's Scripture is the Word of God.
You have created people. Not in the image of each other, to be clones. We are created in Your Vast Attributes to be made in the Image of God. Jesus died for sinners. That gives us inalienable rights. To all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His Name, Jesus, He gave the right to become children of God. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
We readily fall into lines in politics, even in the Grocery Store.
In Prayer, in peace, joy, hope, faith and Love:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
In Christ Jesus:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the Power of God that brings Salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word about Christ.
God is Love.
Lord Jesus the Christ. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves! †