Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Greatest in the Kingdom

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.” (Matthew 18:1-5)
The disciples were arguing among themselves as to who would be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven on Earth. It was not a discussion about greatness as a matter of character to be emulated but about position to be coveted. So they came and asked Jesus.

Jesus turned the question on its head. He set a little children before them. Little children had not status in that society; their opinions were not solicited and no one sought out their favor. They could not do anything for others; indeed, they were fully dependent on the goodness of others to meet their most basic needs, to care for them in every way.

That is how we come into the kingdom, by being fully dependent upon God. It requires a total reorientation, a conversion, a turning from faith in ourselves to faith in God. We must become like little children. Without that, we have no place in the kingdom. As Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Unless one is born of again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

On the other hand, whoever humbles himself to become fully dependent upon God, is the greatest in the kingdom. What is more, whoever receives and honors such a one in Jesus’ name, receives and honors the Lord Jesus as well. The disciples thought greatness was about pride of position, but it turns out that it is about the humbleness of faith.

The greatest in the kingdom of Heaven on Earth are those who trust God completely, in all things.



The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
Keys to the Kingdom of God
in the Gospel of Matthew

by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.