“Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”



I enjoy oxymorons ... a farewell reception ... a small crowd ... acting naturally ... the only choice ... random order ... good grief ... a minor crisis ... clearly confused ... seriously funny!

I also enjoy the Bible’s paradoxes.

It’s a paradoxical truth that “when I am weak, then I am strong” (II Corinthians 12:10, ESV).

Jesus spoke paradoxically when He spoke of a yoke that is easy, and a burden that is light (Matthew 11:30, ESV).

Paradoxically, it is in giving that we receive (Acts 20:35) and it is through dying that we live (John 12:24). And of course ... it is through losing that we find (Matthew 10:39).

But let me get to the question of the day. The disciples asked Jesus, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Matthew 18:1).

Like the disciples, I don’t struggle with an over-abundance of humility. Do you?

The American dream is to be the best, the biggest, the winner, king of the hill, the top dog! Our culture encourages us to become the richest, strongest, most popular and most powerful!

The Bible says that the greatest are the least, the humble, the child-like.

Jesus said, “Whoever humbles himself like this child — this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4, CSB).

He also said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all” (Mark 9:35, CSB) and “whoever is least among you — this one is great” (Luke 9:48, CSB).

It seems up-side-down and backwards!

The King of kings “humbled Himself” (Philippians 2:8). He served as the lowest servant when He washed the grimy, gritty feet of His followers. The Omnipotent Lord and Sovereign Master demonstrated that “Whoever is greatest among you should become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving” (Luke 22:26, CSB).

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