Who is the Greatest?

Luke 9:46-50 says, “46Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. 47And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, 48And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.”

In a worldly kingdom, it is about outdoing the other to be promoted. You will take advantage of others or do whatever you feel is necessary to be recognized by others as a result of coveting after a position. People answer to you and you earn a bigger salary because you have worked your way up the food chain. But this is the opposite of how the kingdom of God works even though the church is attempting to be diametrically opposed to this core value. In order to get as high as you can, you must get as low as you can! It is not self-serving, but serving others.

This core of disciples was tripped on the subject concerning who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. Their motive was not to be closest to the heart of the Father but being better than the person standing or sitting next to them. It was a pride issue because of their position in being a part of the 12 disciples. They had misplaced priorities. It should never be about who can be the greatest, but rather who can make God shine the greatest in their lives.

At one point, James and John’s mother went to Jesus, worshipping Him because they wanted something from Him. They were not worshipping for the right reasons! True worshippers do not seek for anything but the heart and presence of God. If you are expressing humanistic, religious worship to gratify some self-righteous entitlement, you will always be limited in operating effectively in the kingdom of God. Instead of truly engaging in Christ’s presence, she wanted Jesus to appoint her sons to sit beside Him on the throne, one at his right hand and the other on the left. Some people are serving God only for this reason: to receive a heavenly reward. One day, we will get that, but if that is all you are living for, you are missing every single opportunity to impact to impact someone else’s life for Jesus Christ. Our ultimate goal should not be to get a crown, but help as many as possible to obtain that very same crown! This is not about being better than anyone else, but winning people to God so they may obtain eternal life.

As a result of their questions and requests, the other ten disciples became angry as a spirit of competition entered in this moment, but Jesus was having none of it (Matthew 20:20-28). Taking issues to the wrong sources will always lead to discord! The enemy wanted to slither his way into this core to cause division, and the only avenue to do this is pride! Pride is the root of every sin because you feel as though you are too good to be checked spiritually. It is why David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) We must always be humble and in a position where the Holy Spirit can convict of us any sin. Our position or length of time in church does not determine whether or not we live a holy life. It is our nearness to the heart of God in continual and consistent prayer that will set the pace of humility and being an extension of His love. How can you be prideful when you are gazing at the beauty of God’s holiness? It is impossible! The enemy will never bring discord if you stay humble and keep your priorities at the right place.

Jesus perceived their reasoning concerning who would be greatest because it was more than answer a question but discerning the true intentions of their heart. It is why He grabbed a child and said you must be as a child to be the greatest in the Kingdom. How is this so? A child is known for their childlike faith. Those who grow up in a stable home environment believe their dad will provide all of their needs. They do not have to worry how they are going to eat because someone is going to cook for them. They do not complicate a simple gospel, but their childlike faith trusts in God through every circumstance. They are not seeking to outdo anyone else. All they want is the father’s attention! The child was picked as the greatest rather than any of the disciples because his or her motive was pure! Where is your heart?