Greatest In The Kingdom
Sunday Dec. 13, 2020
Scripture To Consider:
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.’”
“Therefore, whoever humbles himself [or herself] as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him [or her] if a millstone were hung around his [or her] neck, and he [or she] were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18.1-6
Something To Consider:
The question asked by the disciples gives us a glimpse into the depth of or lack of their spiritual maturity. Many times, the questions we pose whether spoken or unspoken reveal to us and others the depth of our own spiritual maturity. Many times, as leaders or leaders in training, our actions are no more different from the disciples.
Therefore, Jesus’ response to their question would be the same for anyone of any generation attempting to position oneself ahead of others. One of the wonderful and unique conditions that were created in Christianity is that at the foot of the cross of Christ, the ground is level. This fact alone should be enough to create an attitude of equality in the heart and mind of every true follower of Jesus Christ. But is that usually the case?
Solomon wrote in Proverbs 15.33; “Before honor is humility.” Human nature appears more often to attempt to claw its way toward the top no matter who it hurts. Solomon again instructed us in Proverbs 22.4; “By humility and the fear [or reverence] of the Lord are riches and honor and life.” Why then are there not more who are humble and who fear the Lord in the earth?
Something Else To Consider:
So, the disciples asked the question, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Mark and Luke both record that the disciples disputed among themselves as to which one of them was the greatest. This is not a good character trait for spiritual leaders in training to display, but it happens. And when it does, the Word of God as on many subjects has much to say!
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke to this issue by saying, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” At this moment in our lives, would we be considered by Jesus to be among the least or among the great in the kingdom of heaven?
Micah explained in chapter 6 and in verse 8 of his book of prophecy; “He [God] has shown you, O man [woman] what is good; and what does the Lord require of you [me]. But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” And that is how child-like humility should be exhibited in our lives according to Jesus!
And yet, in the world, whether in business, education, politics, religion, or in worldly life in general, the mantra is to be the greatest you can be, or the richest you can be, or the most famous you can be in this short life given us by God. But to be among the great in the kingdom of heaven, we must according to Jesus and the Word of God, be among the humble!
Something More To Consider:
Jesus, the greatest spiritual leader, teacher, and example to all, had a great fondness for children. As once before, Jesus used a little child as a living object lesson to teach another lesson of a lifetime when He explained; “Unless you are converted [born again spiritually] and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
These statements must have taken the disciples by surprise. Their pride and ego driven attitudes had blinded them and deceived them into believing the lie of the world. Their being lifted up with pride only positioned them for a spiritual fall. The question should never be who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. But rather, who then is it that possesses child-like humility?
Later, Jesus declared in Matthew 20.26-28; “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
But servitude is not what is being taught in the world. And shamefully, servitude is not being taught within Christendom. Paul voiced the Spirit of God’s opinion on this subject in Philippians 2.3, by stating; “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself [or herself].”
A Few Final Words:
Paul summed up his thesis concerning humility in verse 4 of Philippians chapter 2 with these words. “Let each of you [including me] look out not only for his [or her] own interests, but also for the interests of others.” How much better would every society around the world have been in past history if everyone took this Scripture to consider to heart?
How much better human beings would we be if we pledge allegiance now to this biblical principle and mandate of our obtaining child-like humility? There would be no more need to ask the question, who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And in all honesty, by the disciples’ question of who is the greatest in the kingdom, were they placing themselves ahead of Jesus?
Are we ever guilty of the same biblical infraction? Child-like humility according to Jesus is a must have prerequisite to our gaining entrance into the kingdom of heaven. And without gaining entrance, how can we ever be among the greatest of all, Jesus? For according to Jesus, “Therefore whoever humbles himself [or herself] as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Our Father in heaven, strip away all fleshly pride, arrogance, and ego from our lives. And in its place fill us with true child-like humility. In Him Always, Amen!