Luke 9:46-48, Be Great

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Luke on Sunday, January 22, 2023 using the New Living Translation (NLT).

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Just want to do a little quick survey. If you could remain standing if you want to be great, go ahead and remain standing. If you want to be great. Everybody feels like it's a trap. I have you on camera everybody everybody here wants to be great. That's great. OK, well have a seat then if you want to be great. This morning I've titled the message here in Luke Chapter 9 B great. And I do want to encourage you to be great. I think sometimes as we look at this passage, there's a variety of things that we can take away from it. But as I was meditating on the passage, meditating on the words of Jesus. Here I was encouraged to be great and I want to encourage you to do the same as well. You know, sometimes we get this idea of being great and and in our head it's like it's a an exact opposite of humility. But as we start thinking about this this morning, I I want you to know. That you can be great. And be humble at the same time. I do that every day. No, I'm just kidding. Jesus did it, though he was the greatest right. He is the greatest in the Kingdom of God. He is the greatest in all of existence and all of the universe. And yet he humbled himself to the greatest degree that anyone has ever humbled themselves, and he walked in humility, although he was the King of Kings, and is the King of Kings and Lord. Of Lords, and so Jesus sets for us a model that we can be great. It doesn't mean we have to be proud. It doesn't mean we have to be full of ourselves, but to be great according to Jesus, is something different than what those things mean and what we often think of of greatness in this world. And so I want to encourage you to consider that. Morning are you great? Do you desire to be great? And what is it going to take for you to become great and to pursue greatness? We're going to walk through four points here in these verses. Luke Chapter 9 verses 46 through 48 point #1 starting here in verse 46 you should want. To be great, you should want to be great. In verse 46 it says then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest. This of course is a familiar concept to us. This seems to be a running argument that the disciples would have together that they would be talking about who of them would have the greatest position that would be in the greatest spot that would have the highest role. Which of them was the most crucial or most important? We see this recorded a few times in the Gospels and so we understand that this was something that was on their mind. And at this occasion they're arguing again about which of them is the greatest. Now the word argue here. It means to bring together different reasons or to add up the reasons. So you can think about it this way. Picture Peter James. John Thomas Bartholomew. But all of me says listen, I'm going to be the greatest in the Kingdom. Here's why. I'll add up the reasons. Let me give you 6 points on why I will have the greatest role and greatest position, why I have the most important place in the Kingdom of Jesus? Peter said no, I know you had six points, but I only have 4 points, but they're stronger points. Let me tell you why I am going to be the greatest or am the greatest and the followers. Of the Lord. That word great in the Greek, it's the. Word megas mega. It's the the greatest I'm I'm the mega disciple. Peter would say I'm the Mega disciple. Thomas would say I'm the the greatest disciple. I have the greatest role. When you picture this dispute, I don't think you picture it. That they were arguing. That someone else would be the greatest right? John was saying you're right, Peter, you're going to be the greatest. Each of them was. Promoting themselves and saying I'm the Mega disciple. I am the greatest of the disciples and Peter, James and John maybe had a strong case. They were just a few verses earlier up on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and they're on the mount of Transfiguration. They got to see Jesus in his glory. They got to see him. Shine like the sun. They got to see him with Moses and Elijah and the presence of God. That was awe inspiring and caused them to fear. Like there was this incredible experience that Peter, James and John had. And perhaps they were. Talking to the other disciples about it. Like you guys, you can't even imagine. I mean, this was so incredible. It's so nice to have Jesus, you know, give us this prominent role of greatness as his followers, that that we get to experience. I'm sorry you guys don't get to experience all the things that great disciples get to experience, but man you you should have been there. It was so cool. Meanwhile, Judas is saying I carry the money. You know, that's really what matters in this life. That's really what matters when things go down, I carry the Treasury back. I get to say who gets what and when and how much. And and so I'm the greatest. And Thomas says yeah, but I have the most doubts. And Jesus really seems to value that, and so you know, I'm the greatest disciple. They they were arguing they were debating. They were adding up the reasons and counterpointing counterpointing each other and discussing amongst each other what things were valuable. What things were important and what would make them the greatest in the Kingdom of God. And we look at this of course, and we can mock. We can laugh. It's kind of fun. Easy to poke fun at the disciples for this. But as I was reading through the passage this week, I was thinking, you know Jesus? Didn't do that. Didn't immediately rebuke them or come against them or come really strongly in any type of way. He wasn't, you know, mocking them and and joking he. He approached it somewhat different. This is not the time that Jesus told Peter. Get behind me, Satan, right when Jesus needed to strongly address something that was going on in the minds and hearts of the disciples. He he had no problem doing that. But this wasn't that time. He lets them discuss it. He lets them debate it. We know from other accounts we'll see a little bit further that they're walking on the road as this is going on, so there's some time passing. There's some discussion going on as they travel. And the way that Jesus responds to this gives us. This understanding it gives us reason to understand that the idea of pursuing greatness. Is not wrong. And so again, I make the point you should want to be great. Jesus, is it rebuking the desire necessarily. He is instead correcting how they are approaching it. Their reasoning there. Arguments and disputes. The things that they were adding up to prove their greatness. Jesus is essentially saying those are all the wrong things you're looking at all the wrong measurements. But he doesn't rebuke them and tell them I don't ever want to hear you think about her. Know that you're thinking about greatness ever again. Really, the implication here is you should want.

To be great.

I know that maybe sound a little bit weird. So let me try to draw you a little. Bit of a picture. Try to picture me if. You can. At the grocery store. And there I am, walking the aisles I'm pushing the cart I'm I'm pulling things off the shelves I'm I'm walking through the grocery store and I come across. A broken bottle of oil. There's oil, just all over the floor. There's glass everywhere. It's actually a glass bottle, which is rare these days, but there it is. The glass bottle. It's broken, there's shards everywhere. There's oil on the floor. More obviously, I can see it's a very dangerous situation and suddenly out of the corner of my eye I see you. And there you are, stepping into the mess of oil. And as you step into the mess of oil, your feet go right out from under you. You flip over completely. You're about to land face down. On this pile of glass and oil. But I'm there. You're welcome. I've run quickly over to you. I do the splits in the air to put my feet on either. Shelf on the other sides.

And I catch you.

And your eye is inches away from that. Shard of glass. That was a close one, right? Thank goodness I was there. I get you down to a safe spot and I say ohh man, that was awesome. I can't even believe I did the slits. I didn't know I could do that anymore. Hey, can you stay here for a moment? To warn other people will. I go get some help to. Clean this up. Now, if in that moment you say Nah, I'm. Just going to go do my shopping. I would say what's wrong with you. I just saved your life. I saved your eye, you you were about to have the worst experience that you've ever had. I saved it. You can't. Take a couple of minutes and wait for me to go find someone else to make sure. Nobody else gets. Hurt if if that was your heart and that. Was your mentality? We would all say what's wrong with you. If I would say, hey, could I borrow $0.25? And he said, Nah, that's alright, I'm just gonna keep going on my shopping. What's wrong with you? I just saved your eyeball that's not worth $0.25. To you come on. Jesus saved us. From something far worse than a spill in the grocery store. And then he turns around and he says, hey? You want to help me? Help other people not be destroyed. You you want to get involved in the things that matter to me the most you want to join my cause and and be part of the things that I value and think are important and and there's some who would say you know, oh. That's all right. Thanks, that's generous offer to be part of your work, but you know I'm just really happy to be saved. That's enough for me. I, I don't really want anything more than that. And in some ways I would look at you and I would see what's wrong with you for for you to have the attitude. No, I don't want to be great. I just want to be saved. In some ways that's wrong. What Christ has done for us is multitudes of multitudes of multitudes of degrees higher than me, saving your eye from a tragic accident at the grocery store. And for us to receive from the Lord and say, oh, that's good, you know, happy to hear that you're, you know, pull pulling in some volunteers to do a good work. You know that's great for you. I'm just happy to be saved and I'm going to go about my. Business, thank you very much. What's wrong with you that that what Christ has? Done for you merits so much more. Than just a simple thank you. Than just. A little bit of gratitude. What Christ has done for us merits. Our whole entire lives being devoted to him, Paul says in Romans chapter 12. Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you. To give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Like Oh yeah that verse OK yeah yeah. Well yeah I want to be a sacrifice just not a great one. I just want to barely get by. Like no, you you need to desire. To be a great sacrifice. To give yourself to God in a. Way that is. Great, this is truly the way to worship him. That is the way to worship the Lord. In the parable of the talents that Jesus gives in Matthew Chapter 25, there is the giving out of different amounts, right? And all the servants are encouraged by the master to put that to work, to do business with it. But there is. That wicked servant to. Takes the talent and says oh I'm too scared to do anything with this. I'm just going. To bury it in the ground, I just hid it. In the ground, and when the master came back, he rebuked that servant severely. Says you have no part in my Kingdom now because your heart in dealing with what I have given to you, was just so completely wrong in a similar way we need to challenge ourselves and to understand what Christ has done for us and to be impacted. Freshly time and time again with the the magnitude of what Christ has done for us. That we are inspired to be great for him. To give ourselves to him to be a great sacrifice. For God and for the Kingdom of God. Peter talking about a similar subject in Second Peter chapter one. There he's talking about characteristics of a believer that we should be growing in and developing in and. He goes on to say in second Peter chapter one, verse 8, the more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I I would suggest productive and useful. That's talking about greatness. There, the more you grow in your character. The more you are useful. Able and productive in your knowledge of Jesus Christ. But notice verse nine of two Peter. One he says those who failed to develop in this are short sighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. And I would suggest that if we do not want to be great in the Kingdom of God, there is a real risk of us being in this condition. Having been shortsighted, we've forgotten what we've been saved from. We're blind to the reality of salvation. The reality of hell, the reality of forgiveness, the magnitude of grace that God. Has given to us. We've forgotten that we've been cleansed. We've forgotten the work that God has. Done in our lives. Peter goes on in verse 10 to say so. Dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things and you will never fall away. There there is a part that we have to play in working hard to develop in those things in the pursuit. Of growth the pursuit of greatness. And Peter says in verse 11 then God will give you a grand entrance into the Eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

A grand entrance into the Eternal Kingdom.

Is that what you want? And if it's not what you want, what's wrong with you? Why is it that you don't want a grand entrance into the Kingdom? But Nah, I'm good. I just want to be saved. Man, that's good enough for. Me that is. A wrong heart. It is short sighted and blindness and A and a forgetfulness of what God has done for you. You should want. To be great. The apostle Paul puts it this way in. 2nd Corinthians 5. Whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is. To please him. Now you can try to say yeah I want to please God. I just don't want to be great, you know. But what God wants is. For you to pursue. That greatness, that growth, that development, that character that he has. He wants you to pursue that he wants you to become a living sacrifice, to give yourself willingly and freely, and to become. The sacrifice that is pleasing to him. We're all gonna stand before that judgment. Seat of Christ, Paul says. And so our endeavor, our goal, our aim is to please God. And so this morning. I would encourage you to be great. And remind you about the importance. Of your desire and your pursuit. In this regard, you should want. To be great. As I was thinking about this, it reminded me of a YouTube video that I saw. I don't often watch YouTube videos because then they get stuck in my head and I seen them over and over and over again or something happens like that. But I'm going to try to punish you with what I endure. See if this works. I didn't get a chance to test it, so.

I love God, you love God. I love God you love. God, what's wrong true? I love God. You love God true. I love God. You love God, therefore true.

God, that song is going to be in my head for weeks now. But it's a good one. So remember, listen I love God and I want to be great for his glory. I want to please the Lord. And if you don't want to. Do that what's wrong with. You what is wrong with you that you're OK being a mediocre, barely alive, barely saved Christian? What is wrong with you that you're just like? Nah, I'm good. I just want to be saved and that's enough. I just don't you know, as long as I make it to heaven, that's enough. I don't need more than that. I don't need a grand entrance. I don't need. What is wrong with you that you would approach what God has done for you in that way and receive and respond to what God has done for you with that much disrespect? You should want to be great. Moving on to verse 47, here's point #2, you should know. How to be great. Now what Jesus here is addressing, of course. It is. OK, you guys are arguing about greatness. You're arguing about measuring. All of the wrong things. And So what? He is correcting in this passage, and in this teaching is how to focus on the right things. And he wants his disciples to know how to be great again. The teaching doesn't go on here to say. Jesus said, never think about being great. Never try to be great. Never do anything great. Just sit there and do nothing and try to be as little as possible. That is not what Jesus does in response to. This instead of verse 47 it says. But Jesus knew their thoughts. So he brought a little child to his side. Jesus knew exactly what was going on. He knew about these arguments and discussions that they were having, but he also knew the ones that they weren't presenting. The ones that were just in their heads and their thoughts he he knew what was happening in their hearts. And so he brought a little child. To his side, I think it's interesting. To reflect on. This here what we see Jesus doing is making a deliberate choice to teach this lesson. He goes out of his way. It's it's very deliberate. It's calculated to work out this teaching and this conversation. You should know. How to be great. We can see this because Jesus has this deliberate conversation. We can see this in the timing and that he waited. To have this at the right time at the right place, we could see this because he brought in an illustration to help his disciples understand the message he's trying to give. We should also understand that this is the truth from the fact that it's recorded. In other gospels, not just on one occasion. But that there's another occurrence of this teaching. Also, in the Gospel of Luke later on, and so we can see over and over and over again, Jesus wants. Us to know.

How to be?

Great, he wanted this teaching made known again, it's a deliberate conversation. Jesus knew their thoughts. He brought a little child. This is in direct response to this isn't you know something that happened coincidentally afterwards, and then we're just kind of making some correlations. You know, based on those two circumstances that were random. This is a direct response to what was? In their minds. Jesus said, I know exactly what's in your mind about greatness. The arguments and the desires that you have. The things that you're measuring for greatness and so. Here is this illustration. He brings a child into their midst. We also know, though, that he. To deliver this instruction to them. In the parallel passage in Mark Chapter 9 as Mark Records the same event, it tells us in verse 33 after they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a House, Jesus asked his disciples what were you discussing?

Out on the road.

So the conversation took place on the road, the arguments, the debate, the you know, adding up of different reasons why each of them should be counted as the greatest. That all took place as they journeyed. But Jesus didn't address it as they journeyed. After they arrived at Capernaum. After it says they got settled in a house so they didn't just reach the city limits. They didn't just get to, you know, the hub of the city. They didn't just. Get to a. Kickback place they they got to their location. They got to their destination and. They got settled. They got washed up, maybe used the restroom. They maybe got some food in them. They got some sleeping arrangements worked out. They got settled in the house. And then Jesus asked his disciples, hey guys, what was it that you were discussing there out on the road? Now we don't know exactly how long this journey was. But it's safe to. Assume that they were on the road. For a while. The passages leading up to this they were at the Mount of Transfiguration, exact location unknown. But the high mountain related to Israel is far north. At least 20 to 25 miles farther north than Capernaum and the the Sea of Galilee. If you go up there to Mount Hermon. So it's possible they're journeying 25 miles. Or more or less give or take. But you get the point. If you and I were walking down the road for 20 miles, we would have quite a bit of time to talk about some things. But that whole time. As they're discussing. Waits, he's not addressing it right then. He's letting that conversation that discussion play out. Waiting for that time at the right moment when they're settled in the house. Now think about it from the other way. If this amount of time is passing. They go down the road, it's a couple of hours later they get settled down in the house. How many things could Jesus have talked to those disciples about in that home? I mean, you think about all of the things that Jesus could teach them. You know on the road to means when Jesus told the disciples from the Old Testament scriptures from the beginning to the end how the Messiah was to be crucified and put to death. And you know, he taught this amazing Bible study that we wish we had recorded. He could have done that with the disciples and boy that would have been value. He he could have taught his disciples. So many things. But what did he choose to talk about? Hey, what did you guys?

Talk about on the road.

What was that debate that you were having back there? And so Jesus chose to have a deliberate conversation. He waited right until this moment and hours later he comes back and addresses this. He says it's important enough this needs to be discussed and talked about. You guys need to know how to be great and then. He incorporated an illustration. This wasn't just a little side note, just like a quick 30 second thing. Alright, let's move on. Next thing you know, I just wanted to do some house cleaning before we get into the Bible study tonight so, you know, make sure you watch out for that greatness, desire and OK. So let's move on. No, he brought in a child to his side. And now he is going to use this example of a little child to help him make his point guys get this. Let it sink in. Let let let some of this teaching this illustration transform your heart. You need to know how to be great and to do that, you're going to learn from the lesson in the example.

Of this little child.

Again, this was recorded in three of the Gospels in. Luke Chapter 9 here where we are Mark Chapter 9 as well as Matthew Chapter 18. This account is recorded. The Holy Spirit sought to it said, look, you need to know this account. You need to be familiar with this. You need to recognize this teaching is something that the Lord wants you to receive to know and to understand. And in Luke chapter 22 we see this same debate pop up again. It's another occasion of this where the disciples are arguing about who is the greatest, and so we have an additional teaching of Jesus on the subject. In Luke Chapter 22 as well. And so we can see gathering from. All of these things. The Lord wants you to know how to be great. You should want to be great and so. He wants to help you understand what that entails and what direction you ought to be going. Do you want to be? Great again, if you don't want to be great. What's wrong with you? Pastor Tony Evans puts it this way. Jesus didn't rebuke his followers for desiring to be great, but he did want them to understand what true greatness looks like. Kingdom greatness is not obtained in the way the world obtains greatness. We have a lot. Of bad models for us in our heads about what greatness looks like. We see political greatness. We see popular greatness, we see athletic greatness, we see all kinds of greatness. Around us but. The majority of what we see and what we regard as greatness is the world's version of greatness and we need to be reminded as the Lord said in Isaiah Chapter 55. My ways are not your ways as high as the heavens are. Above the earth. And so when I suggest that you should want to be great. I'm not suggesting that you should want to be, you know. Pop star status or King of the world or political leader. Or you know the the type of greatness that the world sees. I'm suggesting that we should be seeking and pursuing the greatness according to God's definitions and God's estimations. But it's different and we have to adjust our thinking. We have to correct our understanding. A few verses earlier here in Luke Chapter 9. Jesus speaks to the crowd in verse 23 and says if any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way. Take up your cross daily and follow me. If you want to, if you want to, I'm sorry if you tried to hang on to your life you will lose it, but if you give up your life for my sake you will save it. There is a reversal and much of what God wants to do in our lives is accomplished and achieved. Through the opposite means of what we would naturally expect. The ways of the world and the ways of our nature. The ways of our society. Are usually very often completely contrary to the ways of God. So Jesus says, if you want to save your life, you have to lose it for my sake. You have to give your life over to me completely in order to really have life. But if you try to insist on your way of life and your desires and your goals and what you want, you're going. To lose all of that. But the the. Way to achieve the the full satisfaction. The full enjoyment of life is to let it go and surrender it all to the Lord. You have to give up your own way. You have to take up your cross daily. There's going to be a continual ongoing battle to reverse the bad thinking in your head about what it means to be great and how to find pleasure and how to find enjoyment and how to find fulfillment. And you're going to have to daily recommit to doing life. The Lord's Way, and so you need to know how.

To be great.

Moving on to point #3 looking at verse 48 now point #3 is you have the opportunity to be great. Such a crucial point for us to consider. You should want to be great. And you should know how to be great. But you also need to understand and let this sink in. This isn't a message for other people. Have the opportunity.

To be great.

Look at verse. 48 it says. Then he said to them. Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me. And anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest. And so here Jesus says a lot, try not to dive into everything that he's saying here in this verse. We'll get to more on it in just a bit, but. But notice first the open invitation that he's giving here in verse 48. Then he said to them, anyone. He didn't say select for you. He didn't say any of the 12. He didn't say any of the 70. He didn't say there's a, you know, very limited subset of people who this is available to, he says anyone. Who welcomes a little child like this? On my behalf welcomes. And anyone not nobody. Not some people, not a select few. Anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my father who sent me and then noticed he says in verse 48 at the end, whoever is the least among you is the greatest. He he goes out of his way to say, anyone, anyone, whoever. That this is an opportunity that is not exclusive. Who believes in Jesus has the opportunity? To be great in the Kingdom of God. And it's amazing because you know if greatness was achieved any other way. There would only be a. Select few that could achieve it. But God's ways are not our ways. And so this opportunity is for anyone. No, no, let me say it again. This opportunity is for anyone. It's for whoever. That there is the opportunity for each. One of us, everyone of us. To be great in the Kingdom of God. And if it was not God's way, if it was not the way that Jesus is describing here. The opportunity would not be available to everyone to to whoever. If greatness depended. On talents. There would only be the few who had the talent. That could be great. In sports. There's a lot of greatness that's based upon talent now there's some measure of greatness that can be achieved through less talent, but make up for it. With hard work. And I don't know anything about sports, but the movie Rudy is in my head right? Like the talent, wasn't there really? But the determination and hard work was there, right? But he's like one in a million. To have talent to make it to Major League sports of any capacity. It's only the select few. There's not many that make it there. If greatness in the Kingdom of God was like that, you have to be able to sing and worship just as good as Lena does. Then it's just her. She's the only one that could be great. If greatness depended on good looks. It would just be Josh Sungel all by himself. Just I'm the only great one. Look at. The mirror you could see. If greatness depended on social status. If it depended on popularity. If it depended on financial resources. If it required certain skills. Certain achievements, if you had to read the Bible 17 times in order to be great in the Kingdom of God, that there there would only be a certain number a a limited set of people who. Could be great.

But that's not the way that it. Works in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus says you and you and you and you and you, and you, and you, and you, and you you have the opportunity to be great. He measures things differently. Than the rest of the world. And then what is natural to us? Remember when Jesus was watching people give at the temple their gifts into the offering? Luke Chapter 21 records this for us. Tells us what Jesus was at the temple. He watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow. Came by and dropped in two small coins. I tell you the truth. Jesus said this poor widow has given more.

Than all the rest of them.

They have given a tiny part of their surplus. But she poor she is has given everything she has. Jesus, on another occasion, says. Look wow, this is great. This woman is great in the Kingdom of God. Her gift is counted great in the Kingdom of God. Others around her were giving thousands more. Impressive amounts, whoa, did you see how much money they put in the collection box? Wow, they're blowing trumpets. Hey, I'm giving an extra 1000 today. Everybody applaud. Jesus says they're not great. They think themselves great, their friends around them count them great and talk. About how great they. Are but God looks and says you're not great. But here's this poor widow.

She doesn't have much. She's got 2 coins.

She said, I'll give that to you God and God says you are great. You can be poor and be great. You can have no skill. Bad singing voice. Little talent. Just one spiritual gift that you use one time in your. Whole life. And you could be great in the Kingdom of God. Anyone Jesus says whoever this opportunity this invitation?

Is for each one of us.

Do you want to be great? The opportunities there.

If you don't want.

To be great, what's wrong with you? He's giving you the opportunity he invites you. And point #4 as we finish in verse 48 you can start being great immediately. Verse 48 again says. Then he said to them, anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me. And anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my father.

Who sent me?

Whoever is the least among you is.

The greatest.

Jesus and teaching this lesson. Has brought in this child.

To drive the point home.

What do you need to do to be great?

In the Kingdom of God.

Jesus says welcome a little child on my behalf. Love a child in the name of. Jesus is the idea here. That word welcome. It means to accept deliberately and joyfully. It's a ready choice a a willingness. To deliberately choose. To welcome to love to embrace to receive.

A little child.

Children in their society were not esteemed very highly amongst the Jewish people. They were but amongst the Roman and Greek culture they. They were thought very little of at all. Jesus here makes. The opportunity to be great accessible. Because it's not well, you have to go through this course. It's a long course. It'll take you a couple of years. You have to go through seminary and then when you finish, when you graduate then you can be great.

You know, Jesus says.

Can you embrace a child on my behalf? If you can do that, you have the opportunity to be great in the. Kingdom of God. It's not some huge hard thing that you have to spend years learning or hours researching or studying, it's. Simple expression of love. It's not a hard qualification, a hard requirement you can. Start doing that. The disciples. Didn't quite grasp this point that Jesus was making and a few chapters. Luke chapter 18. Parents are going to be bringing their little children to Jesus. So he could touch them and bless. Them, but it says when the disciples saw it, they scolded the parents for bothering him. Shame on you parents. Troubling Jesus, he's got much more important things to do. Bless your kids. He's talking to Pharisees and religious leaders. He's gonna. Save the world he's gonna throw over the. Roman Empire, he doesn't got time for kids. Shame on you. Disciples didn't quite get the lesson here. But Jesus says. If they were to change their position in that instance in Luke Chapter 18.

And say you know Jesus.

Is really busy, but I'll hug you. I'll bless you. Come on in, I'll bring you into his. Presence you can hang out with him. It would have been a completely different story altogether. They would have had the chance to be great. Notice the chain reaction here that Jesus walks us through. You welcome a little child in my name. And says you welcome me. There's a direct correlation. You do that for a child, and you're doing that to me. And anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my father who sent me. And so this ministry to a child. Has huge impact. It's much more than just the child in front of you. It is Jesus in front of you. It is the father in front of you. And you embrace the Lord when you embrace.

The child.

You can use children in this teaching that Jesus is giving as an illustration so. You can infer from this we're talking about people in society who have little status who are thought little love, who are neglected, who are set aside, who need defending you. You can infer from this, not just children, but. Children is such a great example. Because it's so opposite. If you go to some. Career advice

Not ceremony seminar. So what I was looking for.

They're not going to be teaching you. Hey, make sure you are spending time embracing children in the. Name of Jesus? You know, if you want to get ahead in your career. If you want to accomplish great things and you know be that Unicorn, start up, you know, then here's what you need to do. Make sure you really devote a lot of time to kids and those who are neglected. And those who are in need like it's just not the career advice. It's not the power moves, it's not. It's not the way that the world thinks.

But it's the way that God thinks.

Minister to those who are thought of as the least the little. And you minister unto the Lord, you welcome Jesus. You welcome the father.

Now, if you don't.

Mind me getting a little bit silly.

Hope you don't mind, I'm gonna embarrass myself greatly.

It's a great joy for us right now to be able to be part of our nieces life. Little Isabel and I heard Kim telling this story earlier and she didn't know I. Was going to tell the story also, but. So you know, every day after work I get off work. It's been a long day. I'm tired. But I go home and we're watching Isabel and it's tag team so Kim's been doing it for the previous 10 hours tag. I'm it.

But what a?

Joy it is, and you know, of course she's family and I love her because she's family. But but also. Intentionally remind myself and hold in my head. The very opportunity to be a demonstration of.

The love of.

God, the very opportunity to embrace in the name of Jesus, the very opportunity to share a smile and the heart of God. To have you know, future opportunities that I'm investing to. Established right now, you know just the opportunity that she would know the Lord somewhat through her interactions with us. It's worth it. It's worth all of whatever it costs. Whatever it takes, it doesn't matter. You know that that it's just worth it, but. You know, sometimes that means. Not doing great things. One of her favorite things to do is. For me to lie on the ground and she can jump on top of me. And she makes me fart and embarrass myself. It's not a way to be great, right? She's learned. That she can. Manipulate me pretty easily. And so she'll say butterfly, and that means Jerry, you got that deal, you gotta dance like a butterfly dance like and then you know what she'll do. She'll go stop. And we play red light green light with butterfly stop butterfly stop. And so I'm like teetering on one foot trying. Not to fall. Over she's just. Looking smiley like I got you. I got you OK butterfly. OK OK OK stop and we played this game for a long time and you know what I ministered to Jesus acting like a butterfly making a fool of myself. To love on her.

In the name of Jesus.

Yes, she's family, and so I would love her. Anyways, but also. Lord, this is for you. And I want to be a good influence and shine your light. And welcome a child's welcome. Someone who is neglected, someone who is not easily loved. Welcome. I'm not talking about this about now. I'm moving on to other. Examples but. But to give ourselves. In that way to people who are in need. Who need to know the love of God and the people who need to hear the voice of the Lord who need to be encouraged and embraced by the Lord. It's a huge opportunity for us and it's the way Jesus says. That we can be great in the Kingdom of God. Pastor Thomas Constable puts it this way. The disciple who ministers to a person with no status as though he or she was ministering to Jesus, does in fact Minister to Jesus and. To God the father. Because that person has status with God. The people that have little status and little esteem. By the world around us. Well, the popular vote is not what God uses to. Evaluates and determine the status of people.

And everyone he loves.

He esteems them highly. And so when we embrace them. And welcomed them and loved them on.

Behalf of Jesus. We Minister to the Lord.

Because we've aligned our hearts with his. We've corrected our thinking and and redirected our thoughts so that we.

Are willing.

To humble ourselves to lay aside other things. In order to Minister to those who need love and to be ministered to. Jesus says, whoever is the least among you.

Is the greatest.

The disciples were arguing about Mega, who's the Mega disciple. This is the Greek word where we get the word micro from. They wanted to be Mega, Jesus says. The way to get mega.

Is the first speed micro.

First you got to be willing.

To be little.

Now willing to be little doesn't mean you're willing to. Talk bad about yourself. It's willing to be esteemed little by the world around you. Why are you wasting your time on that? That's not how you achieve greatness. The world would tell us that's not how you need to be spending your time. That's not gonna be rewarding. That there's all these other priorities you should have and all these other things that you should put in place. Why are you investing in that person in that situation, in that church? And that thing? Why that's not the way to become great. You have to be willing to be counted. By everyone around you and your faithfulness to God. And then. You can be. Great, whoever is the least among you.

Is the greatest.

Pastor David Guzik says Jesus challenged his followers. To be the least. The desire to be praised and to gain recognition should be foreign.

To a follower of Jesus.

Jesus wants his followers to embrace least as a choice. Allowing others to be preferred and not because we are forced. To be the least. Not because we're. Suppressed into that position. But because we willingly choose. To live according to God's values and not according to our natural values and what the world values.

That we would be willing.

To let his ways override our ways. In that passage in Luke Chapter 22, when Jesus teaches on this again to his disciples as they're arguing once again, Luke. Chapter 22 verses 24 through 27. Jesus tells them look in the world, kings and. Great men Lord, it over their people. This is greatness in the world's eyes, but it's supposed to. Be different among you. Those who are greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leaders should be like a servant. And he goes on to give himself. As an example. Who's the more important one? The one who sits at a table? Or the one who serves? The normal estimation of things, yes, the one who sits at the table is the more important person.

But Jesus is not here.

For I am among you as one who serves you see everything you know about greatness, from the world's perspective and from the natural perspective is wrong. And the greatest is not the one who sits. At the table. But the greatest is the one who serves. Jesus says that's what I do. That's what I came.

To do.

In March Chapter 9, the parallel passage to Luke Chapter 9 here. It tells us when they arrived in Capernaum and settled in the house. Jesus asked his disciples, what were you discussing on the road? But they didn't answer because they had been. Arguing about which of them was. The greatest, they're embarrassed they didn't answer. Oh, he busted us. He knows what we've been talking about. And again, he doesn't. Say you should never think about that, never desire greatness. He says if you want to be first. You must take the last place. Be the servant of everyone else. And so he makes it accessible. You can start being great immediately. You have the opportunity. It's available to everyone. Do you? Want to be great? If you don't want to be great, what's wrong with you after Christ has done for you all that he has done and what he has offered to you is what he has offered to you. Why don't you want to please him and serve him and grow and develop in your love for him and your relationship with him? Why don't you want to represent him and pass on the love that he's demonstrated to you, to others around you? Why are you not willing to pursue greatness? From God's perspective. Listen, you should want. To be great. And so you should know how to be great. Jesus wants you to know he went to great lengths to make sure you had lots of opportunities to learn how to be great. He also made sure to have the opportunity there for you to be great. It's not some high achievement. You can start right now to love people to embrace people to minister to people who others are neglecting and are being mistreated. Who are others are ignoring or valuing less? You have the opportunity to be great. It's available to you and you can start immediately.

I want to.

Finish with one last thought on this. Go back and revisit this a little bit from the disciples perspective. When we talk about being great in the Kingdom, we're imagining heaven. When they were talking about being great in the Kingdom, they weren't imagining heaven. They were still thinking Jesus was going to overthrow Rome and set up an earthly Kingdom right then and there. The picture is a little bit different. They were picturing greatness and a role in a position in this life. They were picturing. A powerful status in this life. A comfortable status. In this life. And they wouldn't want any kids getting in hey kid, get out of my. Way I'm going to be great. I'm going to sit on Thrones with Jesus. I'm going to be in charge of cities. I'm going to have you know, important things to do and and important conversations to. Have kid get. Out of my way.

That was the perspective of the disciples.

I think that's important to consider because. You know, that's really not much different. Than how most of the world lives right now. Listen, I want to have a good future. I want to have a good retirement. I want to reach the top of my career. Hey kid, get out of the way I don't got.

Time to spend.

With you I don't got time to minister to you. I don't got time to walk with you and talk with you and play butterfly with you. I got things to do more important things to happen. I want to have a great retirement. I want to enjoy my life. I'm going to have you know, really powerful thing. I'm going to bring this company to the top. It's going to be amazing, so kid I don't have time for you to get out. On my way don't be bothering me. I don't got time.

For those kinds of things.

That's how the world lives. In the world system, to get ahead in this life often involves. Sacrificing everything that God values. There was a headline this week that caught. My attention, the CEO of Lowe's. Makes it home for dinner every night he runs a Fortune 500 company and he makes it home for dinner every night. And it's. A headline worthy I mean. Part of you should say like like why is? That a headline? Well, it's a headline because. To run a company. Often requires. You sacrifice your family. You sacrifice your children. You don't minister to them. You don't teach them the ways of the Lord. You don't invest time in them, they barely know you. To be successful in this life often requires sacrificing everything that God values. But he'd be successful in the Kingdom of God. Often involves sacrificing what the world values. And highly esteeming the things that God values and so yes, it might mean reversing those values. You might have to sacrifice a career. To be great in the Kingdom of God, you might have to sacrifice an opportunity. You might have to sacrifice greatly. In this life.

But you'll have much reward. In all of eternity.

Be great.

You should want to.

You should know how.

To become great.

You have the opportunity and you can begin immediately. To start to put God's values in God's heart into place. Be great in the Kingdom of God, Lord, I pray that you would help us. To catch. When our minds drift back into the old way to the world system to our natural tendencies, Lord, when we think and evaluate and view things. Different from your perspective, Lord, may we allow your ways to override our ways. Help us Lord in humility. To pursue greatness for you, to honor you by the way that we seek to represent you.

To the people.

That you've placed around us, I pray this.

In Jesus name.