Have you ever wondered, who is the greatest in the kingdom of God? Our natural tendency causes us to think it is those who have shown themselves to be great pillars of the Faith. Perhaps those whose names have rung from the halls of Christian establishments. The popular or well-known in the large empires of Christianity of this present day or those history has recorded as being great.
Maybe it is the patriarch fathers of biblical history who are the greatest. Those who accomplished great feats of faith endured trials and tests well beyond most that men praise and say, “look at them.” Great kings that were righteous, mighty, or wise. That many love to hear and read the words they have written. It could be those down through the last several centuries that have reformed the churches and established vast denominations in their name.
While many of these were great and esteemed by God as being righteous, full of integrity, and faithful to the Lord. They are not necessarily the greatest in the kingdom of God. Just being well-known or popular does not define greatness in God’s vocabulary. If we are to know who is the greatest in His Kingdom we must listen to what the ruler of the Kingdom, who is Jesus Christ, has to say on this matter. You might be surprised to find out who is actually considered the greatest in the Kingdom of God.
And Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Matthew 11:11
Wow, no one greater, at that time than John the Baptist. That includes Abraham, Moses, Job, Samuel, David, Daniel, and other great men of the Faith. Yet the least in His kingdom is greater than them. It seems backward to our normal way of thinking, isn’t it? If the least is the greatest. Who are the least?
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4
“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Mark 10:14-15
Now we are starting to see those who become like little children are the greatest. Now understand He does not mean childishness or immaturity. He means humble, trusting, believing God’s every word, and willing to do as He commands with obedience. This, a child-like faith, is willing to do whatever is necessary to obey God’s Word and His command. To follow and obey with unwavering faith in a God who is trustworthy and in control of all things. A God who is preparing a great reward for those who are willing to lower themselves to the bottom and obey God completely.
What makes a child a perfect illustration of what God is seeking? A little child is moldable, unpretentious, and trusting to those who teach and lead them. A good child does not rebel or question the word of their father. Jesus commands all of us to turn from our sinful ways to follow and obey His ways. As an obedient child would stop at the command of his/her father and obey.
Even more than that Jesus goes on to tell His disciples if they want to be the greatest, they must be like Him. They must serve others with a humble and willing heart. Like Himself, the Son of Man, the King of kings came to serve and not to be served. To be the greatest in God’s eyes is to be a servant not only to God but to mankind for their good and salvation.
But Jesus called them to Him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28
What I hope you learn from this message is that it is ok to seek to be the greatest in the Kingdom of God, Jesus encouraged it. Though now we know that it is not how the world portrays a person as being great. It is those who are lowly of heart, loving, meek, kind, and compassionate servant of the Lord who strives to listen and obey every word of the Lord. The one who does not desire to stand on stages or in the limelight. This one doesn’t need their name to be remembered but raises high the name of Jesus. Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that many may be saved and also extending a helping hand to those in need. Even if they consider themselves an enemy.
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48