I have a friend in Peru that usually sends me pictures for my weekly story. I haven’t heard from her in several weeks, which means no pictures have come. She has not answered my emails so I don’t know what has happened. Maybe the inspiration has run dry!
I’m running out of pictures so I have to be very selective. This week it’s story #128. I found some pictures to illustrate who’s greatest in the Kingdom of God. I adapted them to Spanish and wrote a story about some twins that were arguing about who’s the greatest. Very fitting I named them James and John, because I inserted the James and John from the New Testament, Mrs. Zebedee’s sons.
They had great dreams for the future— to sit at Jesus’ right and left side in the eternal kingdom. Those places of honor have already been decided on by our Heavenly Father, and it’s not going to be James and John sitting there. I guess we will have to wait and see who will have those places of honor.
Who’s STONGEST, WISEST, or TALLEST?
So who’s the greatest? When the disciples discussed that question Jesus put a child in their midst and said,
“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18:3-5).
To humble ourselves as a child is not the only quality for greatness in God’s Kingdom. You want to be first? You want to be great? Jesus had a big surprise for these Aspiring-To-Have-The Honor-Seats boys and their just as “aspiring” mother.
You want to be big and important? Humble yourself and be everybody’s slave!
“If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all… For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest… The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted… The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves… Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
(See Mark 9:35; Luke 9:48; Matthew 23:11-12; Luke 22:25-27; Mark 10:43-45.)
The great aspiring boys from the New Testament became “slaves” for Jesus. King Herod had James put to death with the sword. John served Jesus all his life and as an old man he was sent to the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. But he didn’t rot away in isolation. If it wasn’t for his exile to Patmos we would not have the book of Revelation.
What about my imaginary James and John? Those boys learned that Jesus does things turned around.
- With Jesus the first will be last and the last will be first!
- With Jesus the one who is the least is the greatest.
- With Jesus the greatest will be the servant of all.
These boys learned that the greatest is the one who serves the best. So next time their mother called them to set the table they raised reach other to be the first to get to the kitchen. Like when Peter and John ran to see the empty tomb, when Mary and some other women had come with the news that Jesus was alive, John got there first.
John set the table without complaining. He even asked if there was something else he could do. James complained and said that the next day he wanted to be the first to set the table. Because following Jesus way to see things, the first to serve is the greatest!
Tomorrow I will make an activity page about people in the Bible that were servants. And then I’ll write a blog for the teachers and hopefully inspire some greater service for the Kingdom.
Be a servant!
Don’t wait to be “waited” on. Jesus came to serve and give his life to be our Savior.
What can be better than to be like Jesus? Nothing!