We all want to be the Greatest and the Best. As Professionals, we all strive to be the greatest and best at our workplace, at our home and even in the Church. I still remember we used to have a KRA rating, in which we used to have rating for CE, ME , NME, OUT. It was given to all the individuals to rate themselves. Guess what each one may have rated “CE”. Everyone rates themselves as CE.. As the greatest in the team.
When we want to buy a product online , we buy the best product . We check reviews, cost, and so on. We don’t buy a product which is second best, we buy that, which is best , or good.
In our setup only the winners are remembered . No one remembers the one who lost a final match but everyone remembers the one who won the FINAL match. The one who is a winner.
Let us Read Matthew 18 :1-14 ..
(After reading is completed)
We see here 3 different parts in chapter 18
It starts with The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven , then Causing to Stumble , then The Parable of the Wandering Sheep .
The key theme in this chapter is who is the Greatest? And Jesus brings a child into a picture (context) and asks the disciples to be like a child (Little one).
Can the disciples become a child? It is to be childlike.
This question did not arise among JEWS but it was among the Disciples. So what made them ask this question to JESUS?
One of the CAUSE
What made some of them (Disciples) to think that they are greatest?
Let us read the previous chapter , let us go to chapter 17 ..where the transfiguration takes place.
..He wanted to be settled with others.
Let us look at their heart:
- Only three of them were taken along with JESUS (Peter , James & John)
(Kind of a mission trip where he selects only selective disciples (Peter, James & John) )
- Witnessed JESUS’ transfiguration.
(They (Peter, James & John) saw something Special / very different which no one among them saw ..Jesus’ Transfiguration)
- Moses & Elijah
(And also they saw two famous personalities from the scripture, that is, Moses and Elijah. Peter was so overwhelmed with this opportunity which JESUS gave him )
All of these happened , in verse 4
- 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
It is good for us WE’LL ALL be here . we don’t want to go back. And question arises what about Others?
And after they returned , they may or may not have discussed with other disciples the privilege which they (3 of them) had.
In another scripture portion Matthew 20:21– A mother’s request:
James and John wanted to be seated on the right and left hand of Jesus
The dispute was about who was the greatest?
When the disciples were with JESUS , JESUS was building their character ,envisioning them.
Jesus addresses this question and it is one of the important aspect in our life.
Lucifer’s downfall was because of the desire to become the greatest or just a thought that he was greatest.
When do we think that we are greatest than others. When we have a checklist and we tick mark it in comparison with others.. Check , check , check and for the other person is cross , cross , cross.
Today Christians struggle with the same thing. We want to be great in the world’s eyes. We so desperately want the approval of the world / People
Jesus addressed this question in a different way, he does not say a parable. Instead he brings a Visual Aid. I.e. he calls a child and places a child among them. (Below scripture portion is just for reference)
Matthew 18: Part 1
- 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
- 2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.
- 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
- 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
- 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
So now the scenario is 12 disciples with a small child.
There are three parts here – 1: Willing to Change yourself 2: Becoming like a Child 3: Our behaviour towards people who are like a child.
- Unless you change (verse 3) : It is very clear , unless you change and become like them ( eagerness to learn, the innocence , the simplicity, enthusiasm, trust or love?,). Change our status, what we think, who we are, and develop a heart that is willing to Change. A heart willing to change is the first step.
- Become like little children (verse 3 : Willing to change and try to become like a child. Jesus is not only addressing the issue of pride (verse 4 Lowly position) but he is addressing the disciples’ character . To have a character like a child
- Welcomes one such Child (verse 5) : We have to welcome and respect those people as well who are childlike (No Pride, innocent , enthusiastic , Loving …etc) . Not only we become one of them but we welcome them , we honour them.
- Causing them to stumble (verse 6) : Don’t cause them to stumble . Love them , Care for them , Learn from them . JESUS warns them.
- DESPISE them (verse 10) : Strong dislike for someone , hatred
(10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.  )
God wants us to be Greatest. JESUS did not say that you can’t be Greatest .
- 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
- 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
- 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
Virjil Selvan is Pastoring the New Hope Community. The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.