HUMILITY, THE KEY TO GREATNESS
Luke 9:46 Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.
Susie: The disciples had this debate several times (Matthew 18:1, Mark 9:34, Luke 22:24). John and James, the sons of Zebedee even had their mother approach Jesus about their place in His kingdom:
Matthew 20:21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
Susie: The disciples were still wondering who would be the greatest after the Lord’s last Passover meal with them, after He had washed their feet, and told them one of them would betray Him:
Luke 22:23-26 And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
Luke 9:47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,
Susan: Jesus, being omniscient, knew they were esteeming themselves more highly than they should.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Susie: Jesus sees beyond our words and even our thoughts to our motivations and attitudes.
Susan: Mark highlights the fact that the child Jesus chose was small enough that Jesus could lift him into His arms.
Mark 9:36-37 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
Susie: This would surely be a child under the age of twelve which would be considered too young to have significance or even to be taught the word of God.
Luke 9:48 And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.
Susan: Jesus elevated the status of this child from insignificant to someone to be welcomed in His name. Jesus lifted children, women, and widows from their lowly status to being important in the Kingdom of God.
Susie: A man would have to humble himself to welcome a child, but Jesus says that the man who welcomes the child welcomes Him as well and also welcomes His Father. Jesus said that whoever was least, humblest, among them would be the greatest. Rather than vying for position and striving for recognition, the disciple of Jesus is to serve others without concern for status.
The IVP New Testament Commentary Series:
Greatness has only one mirror, the reflective eyes of God. He sees greatness in those who do not need to be great to have stature.
Susan: When one is genuinely humble, he can be sure that in God’s time, He will promote him.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Luke 9:49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.
Susie: John seems to be changing the subject entirely, but the link may be “things done in Jesus’s name.”
Susan: The disciples had seen someone who was not part of their immediate group performing exorcisms and told him to stop. But they were not defining the group correctly because anyone authentically trusting in the name of Jesus was a disciple, a follower of Jesus.
Luke 9:50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
Susie: Jesus told John to hold his horses! The disciples should not prevent others from ministering in His name because as long as he was not working against Him, he was working for Him. One did not have to be a part of an elite ministerial team to serve the Lord.
Susan: Mark’s gospel underscores that if someone employed Jesus’s name to perform miracles, and God is using that man as an instrument, he would not turn around and speak ill of Jesus.
Susie: A person would not bad mouth the very name he called on for power.
Mark 9:39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
Ponder this and Apply it: If we are honest, most of us would say we enjoy being praised. However, if our motivation in serving the Lord is to be recognized by other people or given the best leadership position, we are not in line with what Jesus taught. We need to place ourselves in the position of servant willingly with no thought of being praised. Rather than lifting up ourselves, we need to lift up the King of kings and His kingdom. Jesus lifts up the humble. Perform a quick self-check and examine your motives for the deeds you do. Pray asking the Lord to give you a humble heart to do His will whether or not any other person takes notice.