Recall the context of these verses: The disciples believed Jesus was the promised Messiah and were expecting the imminent establishment of His kingdom after the manner of the kingdoms of this world with which they only were familiar. Others had ceased to follow Jesus because He was not fulfilling their expectations while they had remained steadfast (see Joh 6:66-69), so that they supposed they would occupy positions of importance over others in His kingdom. As a result, they had become puffed up and were looking down on others both inside and outside of their band, so that an argument had arisen as to which of them was the greatest. By what term does Jesus three times refer to those upon whom they were looking down? See Mat 18:6,10,14. What did Jesus say in Mat 18:3 would happen to them if they did not humble themselves and become converted from their attitude toward those “little ones” upon whom they were looking down? What did He say in Mat 18:6-9 was the great danger of lording over “little ones” in the faith after the manner of the kingdoms of the world?
What does Jesus say in Mat 18:10 that again emphasizes what He is teaching them about how His kingdom differs from the kingdoms of the world and the importance of not looking down on others? What does it mean to despise a little one? Note: the word means to think little of or to think lightly (Rom 2:4), to look down upon (1Ti 4:12), to be disrespectful (1Ti 6:2); literally to think down upon. Are we ever guilty of “thinking down” on others who profess to be Christians, perhaps because of their less-than-perfect understanding of the truth? For what reason does He say in Mat 18:10 that they should take heed (KJV) or see that they do not despise any little ones in the faith? What is the purpose of angels in the life of believers? See Heb 1:14. Are angels mightier and more powerful than men? See Gen 19:1,10-11,13, 2Sa 24:15-16, 2Ch 32:21 (cf. 2Ki 19:35), Act 12:22-23, Luk 1:20, Heb 2:6-7a, 2Pe 2:10-11. What then is the implication in Mat 18:10, especially in the context of Mat 18:8-9, that on account of such angels Christ’s followers must be careful to not despise any little ones and so cause them to stumble? See Mat 13:41-42.
What does Mat 18:10 teach us about the reality of angels watching over God’s little ones? Cf. Dan 10:13,20-21, 12:1 and Rev 1:20 for angels attending entire nations and churches. Is the idea that God’s mighty angels watch over even little ones in the faith, or especially little ones in the faith? Think: is it the least important or the most important ministers of state who see the face of the king or president? See Est 1:14 and NAS text note. Should we suppose then that it is angels of little account who have charge of saints that the world looks down upon as being of little account? What example do we have of an angel who stands in the presence of God attending to a saint that the world and even those closest to her no doubt looked down upon? See Luk 1:19,26-27; cf. Dan 8:16, 9:21. If there was a man with whom we disagreed but we knew that he had a close personal friend who had free access to the President of the United States and regularly visited him in the Oval Office, would we perhaps be extra careful to not offend him? If then the saints of this world who are of least account are attended by angels who have like access to almighty God in heaven, should we then make those little ones our enemies or our friends?
What is the significance that Jesus refers to such guardian angels as their angels? While the least of Christ’s brethren on earth may have little in the world to call their own, what far greater treasure can they call their own? Think: while those of this world who are esteemed to be great may have the most skilled and honorable of men as guards and attendants—perhaps even men who stand in the presence of kings and presidents, who do the humble ones in Christ’s kingdom have to watch over them?
What is the significance that such angels continually behold the face of the Father in heaven? If we despise one of Christ’s little ones in the faith, and perhaps cause one to stumble and fall, should we suppose that it will somehow be overlooked and not come to the attention of God? What might continually also indicate about our understanding of space-time in the realm of angels? I.e., should we suppose that it is impossible in the spiritual realm as it is in our physical realm for angels to simultaneously minister to those who will inherit salvation while continuously beholding the face of God in His presence?
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The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?