In a backdrop of politics, taxes and kings, the disciples came to Jesus with a question. Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? It was the underlying challenge of Satan when he sought to be like God.
Our children attended Italian public grade school. I remember them lined up, three sets of long blonde braids brushing the pages of their black and white bound Italian “quaderni,” notebooks. Quad-ruled, tiny squares filled with math problems, to me it all looked like scribbled greek.
Italian arithmetic came up with correct answers but used a completely different method to get there.
My husband likes to vary roads when we go somewhere. Inevitably he ends up at the same destination. It kinda drives me crazy. I am already directionally challenged. His motto is, let’s carve new neuropaths cause we need to connect the tiny wires of our brain that would otherwise be left dangling. My brain looks like the cat got in a ball of yarn.
It’s not important how we get there, just that we get there some say.
Not so in the Kingdom of heaven.
The greek word “megas” is where our concept of “really big” (mega) comes from. The disciples asked Who is the mega? who is the greatest? The really big one in your kingdom?” (Matt. 18:1; ESV)
I wonder if inside the disciple’s minds a chorus of “me, me, me” shouted like a bunch of children vying for first baseball pick.
The disciple’s question displayed complete misunderstanding of true greatness
Jesus answered their question by calling for a child. Can you imagine being pulled into the middle of the circle by the Master Himself for a teaching lesson?
Jesus illustrated mega-big with really-small.
Recent school shootings show how deranged who is the greatest can become. Posts on social media reveal a drive to be biggest, baddest regardless of carnage. Notoriety adds up to a false conclusion.
Our definitions of greatness will always tend to go off course without Christ in the equation. Any other route is arrogance.
Jesus set the path. There is only one.
Salvation requires complete submission to the Authority and Rule of Jesus Christ, an equation of childlike faith.
There will be those who make fun of it on morning television shows. There will be those who misconstrue it and do not understand it as greatness. It will be slandered and its adherents persecuted. There will be temptations to another path of validity through self-ambition.
But in the end, God’s equation will stand.
I find myself in life needing over and over again to retract my skewed pathways of thought, redefine and reorder my tendencies to align with His Word. I must re-tether my meandering to His truth.
This is part of the believer’s continual walk. His equation must direct mine.
Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
In the twisty-turny paths of this life, I revel in the sweetness of His call to me His child. I rejoice in His outstretched hand that pulls me to my Master’s side.
It is truly the greatest place to be.