I Am The Greatest?
When I was a kid, boxing was awesome. University of Tennessee football causes my family to pause each Fall much like Sunday’s Super Bowl does most of the United States. That is how boxing seemed to rule the world when I was young.
My favorite was Muhammad Ali. He seemed like a live cartoon, a caricature of all of the real people I knew. He appeared on Candid Camera and he engaged with Howard Cosell.
And, of course, he was the greatest. He really was and he knew it. He proclaimed it. He lived it. He said it “even before he knew he was.”
James’ and John’s mother came to Jesus. She asked that, in the kingdom, that they might sit at the right and the left of Jesus. Jesus’ response is interesting. He asked if they could drink His cup. They answered that they could.
It seems that they had asked their mom to approach Jesus for their own desires. They asked to be the greatest among the disciples.
The answer turned out to be different from what they expected. Jesus told them that the first would be last and the last would be first. Not what you would expect the greatest to be.
Just a few chapters before, Jesus was asked who among them was the greatest. It seems that this question had been lingering for a while. It seems the disciples wanted to know who the top dog was.
Jesus brought a little child to himself and placed the child before the disciples. He declared that to enter the kingdom, one must become like the child.
It seems that Jesus’ concern was not who was the greatest, but who would enter His kingdom.
Jesus at some point said that no one who had ever lived was as great as John the Baptist. Yet,what did Jesus have to say about those who would be in His kingdom?
He said that they would be greater than John.
I think we all struggle with this question. Who is the greatest?
We want to know who the greatest is at work.
We want to know who the greatest is at church.
Within our families. Among our friends.
You name it, we want to be the greatest.
Following Jesus leads us to another paradigm.
We have a childlike faith. We flip our concept of who is first and who is last.
We don’t worry about who the greatest is. Instead we become great by seeking to not be great, to make others great.
Have you ever struggled with “greatness” in your life?