Bible Question of the Week
November 10, 2019
Jesus begins the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:10-14 with a warning not to despise one of these "little ones". Who are these little ones and what reason does he give for this warning?
Who are these "little ones"? This parable follows the dire warning about causing these little ones to lose faith and the famous "if your right eye offends thee, tear it out" passage. Because this chapter begins with Jesus calling a small child to him, some people believe the little ones only refer to children. But the common understanding among theologians is that "little ones" includes people who are new to faith or weak in their faith and vulnerable to temptation and those who are of low social standing. The word despise literally means to look down on, so we are cautioned not to look down on those whose faith is weak or who are unimportant in society (like children of that day).
The first reason Jesus gives is because "in heaven their angels always see the face of the Father". This passage gives us reason to believe we are indeed watched over by the angels. And not just any angels but the highest ones who are always in the presence of the Father. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary says this:
So, says our Saviour, we should not despise the obscurest Christian, for he is ministered to
by the highest and noblest of beings, by beings who are always enjoying the favor and
friendship of God.
Jesus then goes on to illustrate how important these little ones are to God with the parable of the lost sheep.