Read Matthew 18
We often get caught up in pursuing what we think is most important. In our pursuit, we inquire and investigate how we can achieve these ‘important’ things in our lives. Today, at least, we can know that we are in good company. Jesus’ disciples also had their priorities a little mixed up and we find them asking Jesus all the wrong questions.
As they see Jesus’ ministry growing and continued talk about the Kingdom of Heaven being near, His disciples begin to dwell on a common human question: “where is my place in this Kingdom?” Jesus has called these 12 men to be His inner circle; they want to know who is going to be Jesus’ #2, His go to guy. More importantly, they want to know how they can become that person, something accented by Peter’s question later in verse 21.
Jesus’ response turns the usual notions of importance on their head by pointing to the true concern of God in His Kingdom. Unlike the dominions of men in which power and authority are things to be taken and exercised over others, the Kingdom of Heaven concerns itself with but one thing: that those who are not a part of it are found and welcomed in. He illustrates this point through teaching and a parable.
It may seem backward, caring for the one lost sheep amidst the 99 that aren’t, or emphasizing forgiveness and reconciliation rather than holding a grudge (a form of having power over someone) and revenge, but this is the way of God’s Kingdom; it’s how God’s economy works. Those who would find life in Christ must lose their own; we must die to ourselves daily. Here and only here, when our dependence is on God, do we find true freedom and our place in God’s Kingdom.