Who’s the greatest?
Today’s reading: Exodus 9-10; Matthew 18:1-20
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Matthew 18:1
A daily question in our society is “Who’s the greatest of them all?” The same question has these variations: “Who’s the greatest athlete? “Who’s the greatest celebrity? “Who’s the most powerful leader? “Who’s the richest person?”
The assumption is that superiority in certain categories like money, beauty, intelligence, physical strength, political power, and influence make a person worthy of fame and adulation. We honor those who excel in the areas we consider important.
On a number of occasions, Jesus’ disciples showed that they competed among themselves for superior positions. Maybe that was in the back of their minds when they asked Him the question in today’s reading.
Jesus showed them that the categories which are generally considered important by society are not the same ones that are important in the kingdom of heaven. Superiority in those categories is, therefore, meaningless. A little child showing characteristic humility is held above the proud and haughty. Pharaoh’s experience certainly demonstrated the destruction that comes to the proud, the hard hearted, the spiritually blind. A Pharaoh may impress the masses with his power and prestige, but, without a change of heart, he will not even enter the kingdom of heaven, much less be assigned a place of honor there.
Beware of idolizing the values that have no importance in the kingdom of heaven. Pray that God may grant you the humility of a child and deliver you from the foolish, temporal values of this world.