I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. Matthew 18:3-5
As Jesus went about teaching the good news of the coming Kingdom, how much knowledge did he have of the coming ages? Haven’t you ever wondered if he was aware of how things would turn out and the challenges that would be faced in the coming centuries? Did he know about the questions we would ask and the sometimes confusing choices we would consider?
I do believe that the Bible speaks to all ages and addresses the true existential and religious questions that humans face. I believe that all truth is the same for those living in 1700 and 1805 and 1950 and 2007. Truth and the reality of life in God’s view have not changed and do not change. The gospel is the same good news it has been since that misty resurrection morning when the tomb was found empty. I believe all that we need to know in order to be assured of our redemption is to be found in the pages of the New Testament, and that the richness of Israel’s history offers even greater insight as we read the Hebrew Bible.
So when Jesus, the Son of God, walked this Earth and imparted divine wisdom to carnal creatures, why did he not address things that would be major issues two thousand years later? Did he not know that there would be 26 different sects within the Churches of Christ alone? I’m talking about things that are issues now that were not issues then. Do you think he could have? He did address the future on more than one occasion.
I hear answers. I read them with interest. Some of them I’ve been hearing my whole life. I have studied the various forms of study by which we reach those answers … the forms of study (hermeneutics) that force a particular answer. On one friend’s blog this week detractors left comments full of name calling and bitterness. I’m sure they thought it was deserved. They have answers … he has questions … everyone has words.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that Jesus did know the end of the story….just as he did from Creation onward. I think Jesus knew about Catholicism. I feel sure that Jesus knew of the Protestant Reformation. He was aware of the struggle of Restoration. He knew that brothers and sisters in America would reject one another for two hundred years because of attitudes toward a keyboard.
Inching out on the limb a little further … if Jesus did know these things … perhaps he did address the questions that perplex us. It could be that we do not like the answers. It could be that we never thought that he could have imagined what we have become. In the early days of his ministry as he called the kingdom into being, could he ever have imagined brothers hating one another over use of the treasury … or versions of the Bible … or the qualifications of elders … or the use of power point? Could he have imagined heated exchanges over women making announcements or the placement of a communion table? Yes, he could. And if I’m right, he did. Are the real struggles of the kingdom to be found in an eis or a psallo? The greatest person in the kingdom of God could not have grasped the significance of such.
As I re-read the kingdom message above, I’m thinking we ought to try to be great, and not necessarily right. One may lead to the other … but which is more important? We would all like to be great and right. But if you have to choose, which would it be? What do you think?