46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest.
47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him.
48 Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all -- he is the greatest."
49 "Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us."
50 "Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him;
53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.
54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?"
55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them,
56 and they went to another village.
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
58 Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
59 He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
61 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family."
62 Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
A Matter of Greatness (9:46~50)
As readers who have an understanding of the broader context of these historical events, we can immediately see the pettiness of these disciples’ argument about greatness. Jesus takes this opportunity to open His these disciples’ hearts and teach them an important lesson. In the kingdom of God, greatness is not about status or privilege but character and serving others. It is not about having a monopoly over spiritual power but expanding God’s kingdom. Believers must learn to see greatness from God’s perspective, not the world’s, and this requires a Christ-centered paradigm shift for He is the truest model of greatness. He gave up everything to serve, suffer, and die for the world He loved. If we want to experience true greatness, we must follow His example.
- What is your personal definition of greatness? In what ways do you need to realign your idea of greatness with kingdom values rather than worldly values?
No Hesitation, No Distractions (9:51~62)
Samaritans and Jews did not have a good relationship, to put it mildly. It is therefore unsurprising that the Samaritan village does not welcome Jesus when they hear that this Jewish teacher wants to visit them. James and John are so appalled by this snub that they ask to call down fire to destroy them. How dare these half-Gentile Samaritans insult their rabbi! But Jesus rebukes the disciples, for He knows their vengeful motives. He then reveals how fickle and selfish the human heart can be by teaching would-be disciples about the true cost of following Him. It may seem like Jesus is trying to dissuade these men, but what He is really doing is identifying their hidden idols and asking them plainly, “Are you willing to give up these things to follow me?”
- Are you willing to give up everything for Jesus—even your comforts, responsibilities, and relationships? Have you calculated the cost of following Him?
A letter to God
Dear God, give me discernment to know Your will and courage to obey Your voice. I do not want to spend my time on things that do not last; I want to take part in building Your eternal kingdom. Lead me into a powerful and obedient life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
* All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.