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Matthew 18:1-14 Humility and Pride

Soon after demonstrating unbelief in their inability to cast the unclean, deaf and dumb spirit out of a young man and a brief lesson on paying tribute to Caesar, the disciples got into an argument on who was the greatest amongst them. 

Yeshua uses this opportunity to teach His disciples, and us, a lesson on humility and pride and shares a parable with them revealing YeHoVaH’s desires for believers and unbelievers alike.

The events in this portion of Matthew are also recorded in Mark 9:33-37 and Luke 9:46-48 

Mt 18:1 At the same time came the disciples unto Yeshua, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 

The question, of who was the greatest, arose after the transfiguration and the disciple’s inability to cast out the demon in the man’s son.  The conversation happened after coming into the house at Capernaum; it was either before or after Peter paid the tribute money for Yeshua and himself that was retrieved from the mouth of the fish. This we talked about in our last Sabbath session together.

Mark and Luke help us put a timeline together. 

The disciples had been disputing amongst themselves.

Luke stated

Lk 9:46 Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.

The disciples had been following Yeshua for some time now and began to question amongst themselves who was the greatest amongst them. 

I suspect the three disciples Peter, James, and John, who had been up on the mountain with Yeshua during the transfiguration, held the top spots in the argument.

Mk 9:33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?

Mk 9:34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.

Mk 9:35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

Mt 18:2 And Yeshua called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 

Mt 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

Converted – 4762 στρέφω strepho {stref'-o} 

Meaning:  1) to turn, turn around 2) to turn one's self (i.e. to turn the back to one 2a) of one who no longer cares for another) 2b) metaph. to turn one's self from one's course of conduct, i.e. to change one's mind 

Usage:  AV - turn 11, turn (one's) self 2, turn (one) 1, turn again 1, turn back again 1, turn (one) about 1, be converted 1, vr turn 1; 19

Yeshua attempts to correct their thinking, knowing that their current frame of thinking could prevent them from entering the Kingdom of Heaven. 

There is no place for pride in the Kingdom. 

The Bible has a lot to say about pride.

Pr 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

 Pr 11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

Pr 13:10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. 

Pr 14:3 In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.

Pr 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. 

Pr 16:19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

Pr 29:23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Yeshua said:

Mk 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 

Mk 7:22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 

Mk 7:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Pride is so ingrained in our cultures, and it affects almost every aspect of our lives.

  • Ethnic pride

  • Black pride

  • White pride

  • Jewish pride

  • School pride

  • Sorority and fraternity pride

  • Military pride

  • Gay pride

  • Religious pride (Denominations)

  • National pride

Listen to the lyrics of this well-known song:

And I'm proud to be an AmericanWhere at least I know I'm freeAnd I won't forget 

the men who diedWho gave that right to me.

What about the lyrics to this song:

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,

Americans operate under a false sense of freedom.

America can’t decide if its freedom comes from God, the constitution, or the military men who fought and died and gave it that freedom.

America’s freedom is being seriously tested with covid 19.

The delta variant.

The lambda variant that is waiting.

Vaccination cards to travel, dine out, attend events, go to school, 

buy and sell… 

How often have we used this phrase?

“I’m so proud of you”

We all in some ways deal with the spirit of pride and must address that spirit when it manifests, or it will consume us and keep us from inheriting the Kingdom. 

Yeshua teaches His disciples a lesson on humility.

Mt 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 


Humble – 5013 ταπεινόω tapeinoo            {tap-i-no'-o} 

Meaning:  1) to make low, bring low 1a) to level, reduce to a plain 1b) metaph. to bring into a humble condition, reduce to meaner circumstances 1b1) to assign a lower rank or place to 1b2) to abase 1b3) to be ranked below others who are honoured or rewarded 

Usage:  AV - humble 6, abase 5, humble (one's) self 2, bring low 1; 14

Mt 18:5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. 

Mt 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 


Offend – 4624 σκανδαλίζω skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} ("scandalize") 

Meaning:  1) to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, metaph. to offend 1a) to entice to sin 1b) to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey 1b1) to cause to fall away 

Usage:  AV - offend 28, make to offend 2; 30

Here is where religious pride is dangerous. 

  • Religious pride lives on grace from YeHoVaH, not by faith in YeHoVaH.

  • Religious pride puts its faith in God’s grace, Not YeHoVaH.

  • Religious pride causes one to worship the grace of God.

Religious pride causes one to sin.  To sin is to transgress the Law.

1Jn 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Mt 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! 

Mt 18:8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 

Mt 18:9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.  

Mt 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. 

Mt 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 

Mt 18:12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 

Mt 18:13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 

Mt 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

It is Father’s will that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.

1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 

1Ti 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 

1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 

1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

There are people who operate in a false humility. They claim to be humble but get bothered when they are not recognized for something.

How to recognize Pride cloaked in false humility:

  • When you feel good hearing your name mentioned

  • When you thrive on compliments

  • Wanting to be recognized for your ideas

  • Wanting credit for something you did

  • Wanting to be called by a title

  • When you embellish your accomplishments

  • Exaggerating or stretching the truth about your involvement in a project

  • Wanting to be congratulated 

  • When you are threatened by someone else's gifts, talents, or abilities

  • Putting others down to make yourself look good

  • Wearing a mask or having a façade

  • Only wanting people to see your best side

  • Lying about your age

  • Investing more in the external than the inward self

Religious pride is very subtle and tricky.

If you shower a person that has religious pride with praise, they say something like this:

It’s all God not me.  I give all praise and honor to God.

But if you don’t shower them with praise, they manifest.

They want you to tell them how well they did and how great thou art.

Don’t misunderstand me. We should honor our father and mother.

We should give honor to whom honor is due and praise to whom praise is due.

Check your motives.

In the world there are two categories of lost people

  1. Those who had the Torah and abandoned it. – Israel

2.    Those who never had the truth preached to them. – the world

The church really never had the truth. At best, they had some aspects of truth, but never the truth that makes men free.

Israel had the truth that makes and keeps men free.

The church had religion.

The Torah was given to Israel.

Religion was given to the church.

The Commandments came directly from YeHoVaH to Israel.

Religion came from the Catholics mimicking the Sadducees and Pharisees religious order, was adopted by the Protestants who took a large portion of Catholicism with them, and that mutated into the various religious factions and denominations we have today - all of them having a portion of truth.

Faith is part of the truth.

Grace is part of the truth.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is part of the truth adopted by the various denominations and codified by their founders and leaders with a hierarchy similar to Catholicism.  The Catholic hierarchy was adapted from the high priestly order with the pope being the high priest in the Catholic Church. 

Catholicism and Protestantism created holy days from Biblical passages while denouncing and rejecting the Holy Days given by YeHoVaH. 

  • Sunday opposed to the Sabbath 

  • Easter opposed to Passover 

  • Christmas opposed to Tabernacles 

  • Roman Gregorian new year opposed to the Biblical New Year 

  • Patriotism, nationalism, and secular nation building opposed to the Kingdom of YeHoVaH 

  • Allegiance to a nation and a party opposed to allegiance to the Kingdom of YeHoVaH 

 YeHoVaH is as concerned about the lost as He is about the saved.

YeHoVaH is concerned about the souls of all men and doesn’t want anyone to perish.

When we take on the mind of Messiah, we become concerned about the things that concern YeHoVaH. 

Today, more than ever, people groups are more aligned with their people group ethnically, religiously, politically, socially, economically, etc. 

As Kingdom-minded believers who follow the True Gospel of the Kingdom of YeHoVaH, the Gospel Yeshua preached, we must be aligned with the King and His Kingdom!

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