At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
In the Eyes of God
What is greatness in the eyes of God? Jesus’ disciples were concerned about this. They were probably masking desires of their own to be highly honored by their Lord. What they needed to understand, and so do we, is that greatness in relation to Jesus is different than it is in the world. Worldly greatness depends on people’s personal abilities, accomplishments, and positions that cause others to view them as important, influential, and respectable.
Greatness before God, however, is viewed in a completely different way. To help us understand this, Jesus pointed to a little child as an example. The nature of a young child is to accept things implicitly. Children also recognize how dependent they are on others for help, especially their parents. Gladly they trust those who show them love and listen to them and follow them.
Jesus teaches us that if we want to be great before God and enter his kingdom of heaven, then we must be humble like a little child. Humility means that we recognize that we are sinners before God, confessing that we deserve his condemnation, not his commendation. Humility means that we regard all of his Word as truth and listen to it without doubting its message or rationalizing its content. And very importantly, humility means trusting God who loves us and putting full confidence in Jesus, whom God sent to be our Savior to give us eternal life.
Our greatness before God is what he gives us through Jesus. Our humility to believe that is what God values as greatness.
Jesus, teach me humility. Never let me doubt your Word and its message of life. Make me willing to gladly submit myself to you, trusting you completely as my Savior. Amen.
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