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Who is the Greatest?

“1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 Jesus called a child, whom he put among them, 3 and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 18:1-4]

Who is the greatest? That question has resonated throughout history. Who is the greatest… ruler, quarterback, preacher, lawyer, or you fill in the blank? Greatest though isn’t only in the realm of people, we also argue over which is the greatest country or sports team of all time! The problem is the question, as if someone or something thing is ultimately the greatest. When the “greatest” is involved, it is about egos or power or maybe even money. What’s crazy about this passage is that the disciples had been walking with Jesus for quite some time and it doesn’t seem that Jesus was clamoring for the title of “greatest.” Yet, his closest disciples were! In Matthew’s gospel the question is more generic, whereas in Mark and Luke the disciples were arguing over who was the greatest. The answer by Jesus though always reflects humility as a decisive quality. “Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited.” May we seek to be disciples with this level of humility.


Holy God, in our competitive world it is hard not to glamour to be the greatest at something. Yet, participating in your kingdom begins with humility. Give me the courage to humbly serve you all the days of my life. Amen.

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