God’s Word of Life
Luke 9:46-62: The disciples argue as to who among them is the greatest. Jesus is now resolved to journey to Jerusalem, and he speaks of the sacrifices would-be followers need to make in order to follow him.
[Jesus said,] “Whoever welcomes this child in my name, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, also welcomes the one who sent me. For the one who is least among you all is the greatest.”
Who Is the Greatest?
(Matthew 18.1-5; Mark 9.33-37)
46 An argument broke out among the disciples as to which one of them was the greatest. 47Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he took a child, stood him by his side, 48 and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, also welcomes the one who sent me. For the one who is least among you all is the greatest.”
Whoever Is Not against You Is for You
49John spoke up, “Master, we saw a man driving out demons in your name, and we told him to stop, because he doesn't belong to our group.”
50“Do not try to stop him,” Jesus said to him and to the other disciples, “because whoever is not against you is for you.”
A Samaritan Village Refuses to Receive Jesus
51As the time drew near when Jesus would be taken up to heaven, he made up his mind and set out on his way to Jerusalem. 52He sent messengers ahead of him, who went into a village in Samaria to get everything ready for him. 53But the people there would not receive him, because it was clear that he was on his way to Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”
55Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56Then Jesus and his disciples went on to another village.
The Would-Be Followers of Jesus
57As they went on their way, a man said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lie down and rest.”
59He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But that man said, “Sir, first let me go back and bury my father.”
60Jesus answered, “Let the dead bury their own dead. You go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
61 Someone else said, “I will follow you, sir; but first let me go and say good-bye to my family.”
62Jesus said to him, “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples argue as to who among them is the greatest, Jesus uses the example of a child to contrast the disciples’ quest for power. In Jesus’s day, children had no legal rights and were considered powerless and vulnerable, and welcoming a child rather than someone rich or famous would have been regarded as bringing no honor. Why does Jesus use the example of a child? How does Jesus overturn how power and greatness were viewed? What is the implication of verse 48? By what standards is greatness measured in our society today?
Lord Jesus, help me to welcome you by welcoming the most vulnerable among us. Grant me a servant’s heart and make me a true disciple in thought, word, and action that I may share the good news of your love with others. Amen.
Those who work with children and youth
John 8:1-20: Jesus is the light of the world.