Looking after the Lambs
“Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! (Matthew 18:7).
The discussion centered around a question about who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (18:7). Jesus took a child and taught His disciples a lesson in dependence. Then He warned them, and everyone else, to take great care to NOT lead these young ones astray—or else (18:6). So serious was this to Jesus that He went so far as to exaggerate the situation by saying it would be advisable to cut off whatever the offending appendage was rather than continue to be the cause of stumbling (18:8, 9). If you take them by the hand and lead them somewhere they shouldn't go, cut off that hand. If they follow your feet someplace they shouldn’t be, cut off that foot. If you see something and point them in the direction of something they shouldn’t be seeing, cut out that eye.
Pretty severe. But for the Lord, the responsibility of those who are supposedly the leaders of those who are just beginning the journey, was a heavy one.
How important were these young ones to Jesus? He ended His remarks with the famous parable of the shepherd who, leaving the ninety-nine in the fold, went out to find the one that was lost. He doesn’t want to lose any of them, and when He brings them into the fold He certainly doesn’t want the other sheep leading them away from it!