At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” - Matthew 18:1–4 ESV
The disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who’s the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Was this a question of doctrine: is it Moses or Elijah? Could it be John the Baptist or David?
Or, “which of us twelve is the greatest?” Jesus’ answer is not to the question they asked. (How often He did that!) They asked who is greatest in the kingdom, while Jesus answered who can enter the kingdom. Jesus always knows the answer to the right question even when the wrong one is asked! To enter the kingdom is indeed to find greatness!
Jesus answers that whoever humbles himself or herself like a child will enter the kingdom. What might that mean? Fortunately, we continue to read Jesus’ words that describe that kind of humility: this kind of person wants to bring out the best in others and not lead into temptation; this person will pursue that one lost sheep, recognizing the value of even that one out of a hundred; and this kind of person understands how much she or he has been forgiven and readily forgives others.
Understanding the message of the New Testament, we know that Jesus would never say, “Do these things, and then you get in.” Rather He describes the life of one who is in the kingdom!
Today, how can you grow in the humility of a child? For you are a child of God!
Grace Community Church
Raleigh, North Carolina
One-Year Bible Reading