An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” (Luke 9:46-48)
In the Hallmark movie, A Royal Winter, Maggie travels to Europe with a friend and meets a man, Adrian. They are interested in each other until her friend discovers that Adrian is to be crowned the King of Calpurnia. Maggie’s furious Adrian didn’t tell her and blows him off as dishonest and arrogant. Then she sees him helping needy kids at the community center he runs. In Maggie’s book, Adrian quickly turns from the least to the greatest.
The apostles act like juveniles bragging about who was the greatest. I had assumed they were almost Jesus’ age because that’s how they’re cast in movies. However, most Israeli men were married by age 18. Peter was likely the only apostle who was married and the only apostle over twenty because he and Jesus were the only ones who paid the temple tax required at age 20. The other disciples were probably teenagers between 15 (when formal education for men ended) and 18.
So, who is the greatest? Jesus tells us it’s the one who, according to the world, makes themselves the least by serving someone of low status who is helpless like a child, a prisoner, someone on probation, or someone suffering from illness.
Dearest Father, help me be humble and a shepherd to those who need help. Help me not seek greatness but Your will, so if You elevate me, let it be Your power working through me to help others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.