7652 - Least Is Greatest


Often our pride will get in our way and blind us towards what we should be focusing on.

Even the apostles of Jesus struggled with their pride, and had to be reminded of their loss of focus. From Luke 9:48:

An argument started among the disciples 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 little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all - he is the greatest."

At this time in their lives — approximately six months before Calvary, the apostles still did not understand the true mission of Jesus. They continued on occasions to demonstrate they were flesh with human attitudes. Although they were living along side of Jesus, listening to His words, seeing His miracles, they did not yet comprehend the radical and eternal change, which Jesus was going to accomplish through His atoning, sacrificial death; and His miraculous resurrection from the dead which would declare with power that He was truly the Son of God. Along with many others they were looking for Jesus to restore an earthly kingdom for Israel (Acts 1:6).

Perhaps this frame of mind contributed to their prideful argument among themselves regarding who would be the greatest in the heavenly kingdom. They likely guarded against Jesus hearing this argument, but Jesus knew.

In the Mark account Jesus asked these men so close to Him, “What were you reasoning about on the way?” They refrained from giving Him a report.

Nevertheless, Jesus cut through the privacy and broached the subject of greatness with them. He set a young child beside himself as an object of attention. Children do not have a reputation of being great or powerful.

They could look at Jesus, the one they had recently proclaimed to be the Messiah of God, and this child who had no rank or position.

Then Jesus surprised them by telling them that whoever welcomes this humble child in the name of Jesus actually welcomes Jesus; and whoever welcomes Jesus welcomes the one who sent Jesus — God himself.

The parallel accounts in Matthew and Mark help us to understand that Jesus was speaking of humility. He even commented that whoever humbled himself as a little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus was emphasizing the future value of humility in the heavenly kingdom. So, he says, “he who is least among you all — he is the greatest.”

In Matthew (20:26-27) Jesus again emphasized this kingdom principle among the twelve. After authenticating that in the world the rulers lord it over their subjects. Then He states: “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.”

Then Jesus gives the clinching reasoning when he says: “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

These men around Jesus would see this truth literally lived out by Jesus within the coming months. This One who was the Son of God as well as the Son of Man told his close followers in the garden when the mob arrived to arrest Jesus, and Peter wanted to resist with the sword; don’t you know I could ask my Father and He would put twelve legions of angels at my disposal. But how then would the Scripture be fulfilled? How would mankind be redeemed? (Matt. 26:53-54). No! Even with all His power Jesus would serve as the sacrifice. And remember, Jesus did not die for good people but for His bitter enemies, all sinners — you and me. We were reconciled with God through His humble service.