46 An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. 47 But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, 48 and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.”
An argument kicks off amongst Jesus’s followers as to which of them will be the greatest disciple. Jesus answers this mess with a tangible image: a child. Two points are made about greatness in God’s eyes.
1) the greatest is not the smartest, not the strongest, not the most die-hard or powerful,
2) it is not the disciples place to select the greatest.
Rather, Jesus commands that they be careful to love the least amongst them – that is: last place getter, the weaker ones, the people at the back of the queue, fringe dwellers, the ‘not-so-greats’. Welcoming the types that lack status is apparently no less than welcoming Jesus himself, and this is in turn welcoming God. To put this passage a different way – observe who Jesus claims to be represented by!
Jesus, help me to be alert to resist the magnetism of power games and status struggles. Rather, tune my eyes to notice who you want me to welcome – may I love them knowing that I am loving you.
Written by Sam Stewart