Archive for October 29th, 2019

Matthew 18:6-9: The Little Ones

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Scholars will tell us if Jesus here (and in Mark 9:42-48) is referring only to children when he speaks of the little ones or if he means those who have faith as a child does.  In either case the warning is clear: We must beware of ever leading the innocent and trusting astray for the consequences are great.

In speaking with friends recently I have shared my thought that God is so generous and so magnanimous and so loving that he gives us an infinite number of opportunities to come to him and to behave as the very children he seeks to protect in this reading.  Hell, in this scenario then, is the endless returning to conversion for those who refuse to enter God’s plan.  It seems a just consequence to me that those who abuse others might finally submit to the infinite kindness and mercy they have so often thrown off and this is surely their Gehenna.

The Wedding Banquet

We have also spoken about the language of heaven that is spoken by those who understand and enact the words of love that God lavishes on us.  For those who will not enact the plan of discipleship  God has given us, there will be no way of communicating with others when we pass into the next life.  Hell, in this scenario, is being present – but completely invisible – at a marvelous party.  In this case those who refuse to prepare for The Wedding Feast as Jesus warns in his parables of the Ten Virgins and The Wedding Garment will not have the tools needed to be visible in this new world of joy, compassion, and loss of self in the service to others.  And this is surely a version of Gehenna.

In both of these cases, those who deceive, deny, manipulate, defraud, slander, steal and reject life in this world will have no calculus to understand the celebration they see in the next.  They will have only honed their own dark instruments of death and so they will have no mechanism to understand or to enter into God’s joy.  This then is Gehenna.  It is a shadow world that they, and we, hope to avoid.

How difficult is it then, to prepare our own wedding garment?  What does it cost us to be good stewards of the oil in our lamps so that we are ready for the bridegroom when he arrives? What is the true price of neglecting Jesus’ charge to treat the little ones well?

We will want to spend time with these questions today.

A re-post from October 8, 2012.

Images from: http://endtimepilgrim.org/tenvirg.htm and https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/dont-be-a-wedding-crasher 

To read more about Gehennago to: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6558-gehenna

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