Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Who is the greatest? Our world has recently been shaken by a series of revelations about powerful people within a Christian body using their power and authority for evil instead of for good. And it isn’t unusual to hear bits and pieces of history, especially when secularists are talking about the growth and movement of Christianity, to be phrased in terms of winners and losers, those who are more powerful taking advantage of those who are less powerful, and the mighty trampling the weak.
Make no mistake about it. The New Testament clearly portrays Jesus as the mighty creator, redeemer, and king, in whom resides all power in heaven and earth. But we are well instructed to see how, in Mark 9:30-37, Jesus seems to consider his power to be well used. When his disciples are wanting to decide who is the greatest of them all, Jesus exalts a little child, who has no particular power or wisdom. Do we want to be like Jesus? Then we will also care for the needs of those who can’t take care of themselves. We minister to the weak, the unknown, and the unknowing. When we have power, and some of us do have considerable power and authority, we use it for the good of those in need.
The priest or pastor has the training, the authority, and the responsibility to bring God’s Word to his flock. He has it in his power to heal or to hurt, to bind up or to loosen, to build or to destroy. How does he use that training, authority, and responsibility? He is to use it for the good of Christ’s kingdom, which cares about the least of these little children.
What if he’s using it for something else? What did Jesus do to his apostles who wanted to exalt themselves above others? Jesus brought them up short and reminded them what his true interest was. That’s what Jesus has given generation after generation of godly leaders in Christianity to do. I’ve seen that in action in my own church body. Time after time, when someone is falling into error and sin, his brother pastors, both those placed over him in positions of authority and those who simply know him and care for him, will come to him, confront him with his sin, and correct him. By God’s grace, the erring pastor is usually led to repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. God’s people are protected. At times, that doesn’t happen, and there are consequences, even going so far as removal from the pastoral ministry, removal from the church body, and civil prosecution. But by God’s grace, most of the time, the offense is small and the restoration is quick and full.
How will we care for the least of these? Let’s do it and seek to do it in a way that would be pleasing to Jesus, the one who cares for the least of us.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.