The Greatest in the Kingdom
Key Verse: Luke 9:48c
“…Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.”
Additional Reading: Luke 9:46-50
Our Additional Reading section for today’s devotion starts with an argument, among Jesus’ disciples “about which of them was the greatest” (Luke 9:46).
I don’t know about you, but that kind of an argument among the ones Jesus picked to be His disciples seems odd. It’s odd, in my opinion, to hear any mature adult arguing about who was the greatest person. It doesn’t seem odd to me that they were having those thoughts. We all wonder about our significance to a group or organization occasionally.
I think it is noteworthy to point out that Jesus, knowing about their thoughts, didn’t shame them. Jesus simply answered their question. His answer is found in the last phrase of our Key Verse for the day, “…whoever is least among you is the greatest” (Luke 9:48c).
Jesus used an illustration to help them understand his answer. Jesus said that a little child who is welcomed in Jesus’ behalf is the greatest. In other words, anyone welcomed into the Kingdom and who is looked down on by this world is held in high esteem.
For example, in my forty plus years as a pastor, I’ve noticed that in every church there is at least one person who feels welcome in that church though they have been treated poorly by most other social settings in this world. These are odd people, people with poor social skills, and awkward behaviors. Yet, it’s in the church that these people find a comfort and an acceptance that they have never had elsewhere! Sure, there are always a few church folks that can’t muster up enough grace for these people, but it’s been my experience that these are rare in a good Bible preaching church.
The good news about what Jesus is saying about His Kingdom is that everyone can come and be accepted. There is an old saying around the church: “the ground is level around the cross of Jesus”. In other words, no one is better than anyone else and no one is worse than anyone else. In God’s eyes we are all in need of His amazing grace and forgiveness!
Next time you run into one of these people who need extra grace, be sure to remember that God loves them, and Jesus died for them! If you believe that, I hope that it is obvious how you should treat them!!
Aren’t you glad that when you asked Jesus into your heart, you joined a great community of people that are called upon to overlook the faults of others and forgive their hurtful ways — just like God does for us all?
Father, I praise you for you love the all the world! In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.