More than two thousand years ago, the disciples posed a question to Jesus: “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” (Matthew 18:1). What was the true motivation behind this question? Jesus knew exactly what the motivation was in His responsive action of calling a child to join Him. One can picture this scene in their minds eye. Jesus and His disciples have gathered in a home preparing to rest after a day of travel. Peter heads out the door to go fishing at the lake to literally capture their tax money. The rest of the disciples prepare to settle down for the evening. They are still agitated from their earlier account with the demon possessed boy and with Jesus’ prediction of His own betrayal and death. Some of them are upset and feel left out because of the transfiguration event. They struggle internally with jealousy.
An awkward silence begins to settle among them, and the question is presented to Jesus. The question, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” brings complete silence to the scene as all eyes fall on Jesus. Jesus sits for a moment as silence fills the room. He looks each disciple in the eye before he finally calls a child to come to him. The child responded immediately, climbing onto Jesus’ lap. Jesus smiles at the child, knowing the attention makes him uncomfortable, and with a quiet and firm voice Jesus tells the men gathered, “Anyone as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
What was the purpose of this example Jesus gave to the disciples? Jesus wanted them to compare their heart with that of the child. The child showed a humble, teachable, and responsive attitude of the heart. This is something the disciples had lost throughout the years of living in a society that exalted status, position, and works of the fleshly nature. That which has been lost can be found. May our hearts become like that of a child’s again!
Blog by: Pastor Belinda Waston