v.33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?”
v.34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest.
v.35And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
-Jesus is not saying that those who promote themselves will be punished by being made last. He’s saying that among His followers, greatness is not found in seeking the highest position, but the lowest.
-Earthly social status does not translate into the values of the Kingdom. In God’s kingdom, power and greatness are polar opposites to the ideas of the world.
-Billy Graham is seen as a very great man (as indeed he is). But I wonder, if the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven will not be the huge evangelists that we know about”¦.I wonder if the greatest will in fact be those grandmas or those daughters unknown to the media who labored in prayer for these teachers, that the Spirit would use these evangelists and empower their words. I wonder if these “prayer warriors” who worked “behind the scenes” spiritually”¦I wonder if these in fact will be seen as the greatest.
-In the world, greatness is all about how many serve you. In the Kingdom, greatness is about how many you serve.
-And that’s why Jesus is the greatest of all - He is the servant of all.
v.36 He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms,
-Notice this”¦Jesus called for a child then wrapped His arms around the child, making the child feel safe and comfortable in the midst of all these guys.
He said to them, v.37 “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”
-Children were considered by the men of that culture to be a bother. It was the duty of women to keep children away from adult men. Jewish men gave off an air of superiority that alienated children. However, not Jesus!
-We read that parents brought their children to Jesus to be blessed by Him because they knew He loved the little ones. Here He’s seen with His arms wrapped around this child in a tender and affectionate embrace.
-When a crowd of kids was pressing to get near Jesus, the disciples tried to turn them away. They thought that was their job, to keep the riff-raff away from the important Messiah. But Jesus rebuked them saying, “Do not forbid them, for it is of these that the Kingdom of God is comprised.”
v.38 John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”
v.39 Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me.
v.40 he who is not against us is on our side.”
-While the disciples who followed Jesus had lost their spiritual edge and were unable to cast the demon out in vs. 14-29, they encountered a guy who was not one of the Twelve who had taken the lesson of Jesus to heart and was casting demons out of the afflicted. The disciples told him to stop it since he wasn’t one of the official Twelve. Jesus told them they were incorrect - let the guy go on.
-The kingdom of God was bigger than their narrow experience of it and God has servants in many places they were not aware of.
v.41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.
-Anything done in the Name of Christ, that is indeed consistent with the will of God, will not go unrewarded.
-This is an important word for those of us who like to draw tight little lines around the Kingdom of God, settling in to an Us/Them mindset. Denominations, movements, groups, factions, and labels do not define the Church.
-The Church is made up of all those, regardless of color, culture, ethnicity, and even denominational label, who genuinely believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
-Jesus makes it clear here that we ought to be far more concerned with the things that unite us than the things we disagree on. But, throughout history, it seems the opposite has been the case.
v.42 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.
-Jesus says this as His arms are still wrapped around that child.
-Not only is greatness defined by sensitivity to the weak and needy, the least and last, but those who ABUSE the weak and needy, and who cause them to turn away from God because of their poor example, well, according to Jesus, it would be preferable if they drowned in the deepest sea before such a thing should happen!
-Because our example has such a powerful impact on others, Jesus gives a sobering word of warning about the imperative of practical holiness. This will be covered in another study, “The Danger of Compromise.”
Adapted from a study by Pastor Lance Ralston of Calvary Chapel of Oxnard.