Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 9:48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for he who is least among you, this is the one who is great.”
This verse is important for believers in Jesus, Christians, to understand and follow. In Luke we read, “And an argument arose among them as to which of them might be the greatest.” Luke 9:46. Mark’s account of this goes a bit further. “And they came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, What were you discussing on the way? But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest.” Mark 9:33-34. Now this occurs just after Jesus told them of His death and resurrection. “And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples, Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they might not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.“
This shows in this period of time such a strife could arise; shows most plainly how little the Savior’s repeated prediction of His suffering had yet taken root in the mind of His disciples. In their thoughts they had already distributed Crowns, while the Master spoke of the cross. Occasion for such a strife they had been able to find a sufficiency of in the days last preceding, even if the germ of rivalry had not been already existent in their hearts. However, Jesus knew their thoughts. “But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for he who is least among you, this is the one who is great.” Luke 9:47-48.
In the first century a child was an insignificant and the weakest member of society, and thus exemplified one who is ‘the least’. And because of this, we can understand Jesus’ answer. “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4. He did not name a specific person who would be declared the greatest. What He was essentially saying was what designates greatness in the Kingdom of God is not how the world determines the greatest. People tend to be concerned with social status, political clout, and pecking order. We tend to rank people according to how things look to us in this world, but Jesus warned that using earthly criteria will never give us an accurate picture of rank in God’s kingdom. Human judgment will give way to God’s someday, as it says in the scriptures, “But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.” Matthew 19:30.
In closing, rather than work to be the greatest in this world, we should simply trust in Jesus and serve others, which is basically serving Him. In the kingdom of God, positions of power are meant to be positions of service. Rather than lord power over others, we are to focus on serving others. The greatest in the kingdom are those who have the humility of a child and the meekness of Jesus. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5. What is valued in God’s kingdom is loving the way He loves us, selflessly.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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