Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus

Matthew xvii: 24, to xviii: 35; Mark ix: 33 to 48; Luke ix: 46 to 50.

dropcap image ROM Caesarea-philippi, in the far north, Jesus went with his disciples through Galilee, but not, as at other times, with a great multitude following him. At this time Jesus wished no one to know of his coming, for he had already preached to this people, and now he sought to be alone with his disciples. They came to Capernaum; and while they were there the officer to whom the Jews paid the tax of half a shekel, or about thirty cents, for each man, said to Peter, "Does not your Master pay the half-shekel?"

Peter said, "Yes." But when Peter came into the house, Jesus said to Peter, "Simon, do the kings of the earth take taxes of their own children, or of strangers?"

Peter said to him, "Of strangers, not of their own children."

And Jesus said, "Then the children of the King should be free from the tax. But that we may not cause trouble, do you go to the lake, and cast in a hook, and pull up the first fish that comes; and when you have opened his mouth you shall find in it a piece of money. Take that, and pay it to them for you and for me."

While Jesus was in the house, he said to his disciples, "What was it that you were talking about among yourselves while you were on the way?"

They looked at one another, and said nothing; for on the way they had been disputing as to who of them should have the highest places in their Lord's kingdom. Then Jesus said to them, "If any one among you wishes to be first, let him be willing to be the last of all, and to be a servant of all."

And Jesus took a little child in his arms, and held him up before all his disciples, and said to them, "Unless you turn from your ways, and become like little children in spirit, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whoever shall be gentle and lowly and willing to be taught, like this little child, he shall be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever shall receive one such little child for my sake, he receives me. Take care not to despise one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always look upon the face of my Father who is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost; and it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, how many times should I forgive a brother when he has sinned against me? Till seven times?"


Jesus takes a little child in his arms

Jesus said to Peter, "I do not say that you should forgive him seven times only, but seventy times seven."

Then Jesus gave to his disciples the parable or story of the Unkind Servant:

"There was once a king who had an account made with his servants of how much money they owed him. One servant was brought before the king; and he owed the king a great sum of money, ten millions of dollars. The man had nothing with which to pay his debt, and the king commanded that the man, and his wife, and his children should be sold as slaves for the debt. Then the servant fell down before the king, and said, 'Be patient with me; give me time, and I will pay all that I owe!'

"Then the king felt a pity for his servant, set him free, and let him go without any payment, giving him all that he owed.

"But that servant went out and found another servant who owed him a small sum, only ten dollars. He came to this man, and took hold of him by the throat, and said, 'Pay what you owe me!' The man fell down before him, and said, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you!' He would not wait for the man to earn the money, but threw the man in prison, to stay there until he should pay the debt. When his fellow-servants heard of what he had done, they were sorry for the poor debtor in prison, and came and told the king all that had been done. Then the king sent for the servant, and said to him, 'You wicked servant, I forgave you all your debt when you asked me to give you time. And you should have had mercy on your fellow-servant, just as I had mercy on you!' And the king was angry against the unkind servant, and sent him to prison, and ordered that he should be made to suffer until he should pay all his debt. So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if from your hearts you do not forgive your brothers who have sinned against you."