“He told them, ‘Whoever welcomes this child in My name welcomes Me. And whoever welcomes Me welcomes Him who sent Me. For whoever is least among you – this one is great.’” (Luke 9:48)
An argument erupted among the disciples. Jesus had just told them He was going to be betrayed. They didn’t get that, but they did perceive that they would soon be going up to Jerusalem where Jesus would finally make the big announcement: The Messiah had arrived! For them, this meant that the kingdom was about to be established, and they would soon be moved into a ruling role. That being the case, they needed to figure out now who was going to be the leader, who was going to be in charge, who would sit at Jesus’ right and left. Thus the argument erupted as to who would be the greatest.
You can almost imagine it. Peter: “Well, I’m the biggest and the strongest, and I don’t mind speaking my mind.” Andrew: “Well, I’m the one who told you about Him to begin with!” James: “I’ve got what it takes to make snap decisions. I’m a real leader.” John: “Maybe, but I’m closer to Him than anybody else, and I understand His heart.” Thomas: “We’re all going to die, you know, soon as we set foot in Jerusalem.” Judas: “You’re all stupid. I’m the only one who has any financial sense. I’m the smartest of the lot, the only one with a real brain.”
Enough. Jesus had a child stand in their midst. He had something to teach them that they needed to hear. He who welcomes this child welcomes Jesus and welcomes the Father. That seems a little cryptic, but maybe what it means is that Jesus identifies with a child and with the Father, and that leadership isn’t about position. Neither is greatness about position or power. Greatness is about humility, about learning, about growing, about becoming, about appreciating others. Humility before God is the pathway to greatness. Greatness is not something we are to seek, but something that is bestowed as we seek to become the kind of people who translate the word “Christian.”
Lord, May greatness not be on our radar screen. Rather, let our hearts be in tune with Yours, so that we may trust our role in this life to You. Amen.