Daily Archives: May 24, 2023



An argument started among them as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside Him. Then He said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you – he is the greatest.” Luke 9:46-48

What was this “greatness” that the disciples were so diligently pursuing and so persistently quarrelling about? What did they want? Position, power, popularity? Were they associating greatness with an important place in this “kingdom” Jesus talked about? They certainly did not get their ideas of greatness from being with Him. He showed them what gentleness and humility was about, which was not what they understood about greatness.

What was it about a child that fitted Jesus’ idea of greatness? Smallness, weakness, vulnerability, defencelessness, needing the love, protection, and care of a father, carefree and trusting? According to the Message Bible, greatness in the kingdom of God is not about asserting but accepting – receiving because we have nothing to give. This is what is special about this father/child relationship that God offers us. All other religions demand that the worshipper does something and gives something. They must satisfy the often wicked and unpredictable demands of their god to prove their devotion and their worth. Jesus demands nothing. All He asks is for us to trust in the One who makes promises to us and gave His son for us. Elsewhere in the gospels He speaks of “receiving” the kingdom just as a little child eagerly receives a gift.

A child does not know that he is humble. Humility is being aware of how small, weak, and incapable we are of being anything without God. All these other things that the disciples were trying to prove were a vapour, a ghost that did not exist. Jesus was saying, “Just be real, man. Your size or age does not prove anything. Inside you are no bigger or more powerful than a child. You may shout louder or hit harder, but the outcome is the same – zero.”

We humans were in a dilemma. In Romans 5:6ff, Paul said that, when we were powerless (without strength) Christ died for us. We could do nothing and add nothing to His rescue plan. Now that we have been rescued, we can still add nothing. All He asks is that we trust Him and follow His instructions. It’s not about competing with anyone else. “What is that to you? Follow me,” is Jesus’ blunt response to our demand, “What about him?” it’s not your business.

So why should we not compete for “greatness”? God does not measure greatness by how important we are in the eyes of the world, but by how much we care about the people that the world despises and rejects. In His day, children were “nobodies”. And He blessed them and said that they were the “great” ones in the kingdom.