At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" (Matthew 18:1 New KJV)
It was an outward stretch, an upward push, a steady climb to the top. Which of us is the greatest? That was the question among the disciples, as they elbowed each other's ribs and vied for heavenly position. Steadily, they jockeyed for authority and clawed their way toward greater recognition.
If the question was 'What', the answer would have been 'Competition'. It was that which was greatest among them. But, the question was 'Who', and it had to be answered and the truth revealed.
"Let's go ask Jesus", they reasoned.
This was most likely the best idea they had entertained in a while, but I doubt they had anticipated the Master's response. And, I can assume they did not like His answer. I make this supposition because you and I are no different than those disciples. But, the answer Jesus offered was unwavering, and His words remain with us today.
The big answer came with the help of a tiny visual aid, in human form.
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." (vv 2 & 3)
Can you imagine? Nothing is said of our physical stature or political position. No acknowledgement is given to our seminary degree or college diplomas. No lineage is traced. No respect is offered to our ancestry. There is no admiration extended to our efforts for perfection or recognition of our accomplishments. And, no inventory is taken of our material accumulation or financial gain.
In the search for those who are greatest in the Kingdom of heaven, look at ground level. Sit an innocent, loving child upon your knee. And, ask God to place within you a heart like theirs.
"Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (v 4)
(This article was published in Pathway Christian Newspaper February 2011)
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