1.29.23 Developing Disciples

Series: The Gospel of Luke

January 29, 2023
Jay Vanderbur

Luke 9 is a training session for the disciples. One of the things that Jesus teaches them comes towards the end of the chapter after he had miraculously healed a tormented boy. Understandably, people were “amazed” and were “marveling at all that Jesus did” (v. 43). It seems that this incredible display by Jesus got the disciples wondering and arguing about their own greatness and status in the kingdom of God. Jesus was aware of what was going on and he brought a little child to stand beside him and said: “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” - Luke 9:48 What is Jesus saying here? A child has no power, no money, no recognition, and no accomplishments. It’s easy to show kindness to those with power, money, and status - they can bless you back. But Jesus is calling his disciples to imitate him by challenging them to love even the least of these. Most of us have some sort of inclination to achieve. But often we don’t just want to achieve, we want to be recognized and be perceived as great by others. Jesus brings forth a child to challenge this impulse inside of us. Greatness, as God sees it, is a call to humility and service - a call to love what Jesus loves and do what Jesus does. Luke has already flipped the script by holding up the marginalized and insignificant as models of faith - a pregnant virgin (Luke 1), a tax collector (Luke 5), a woman with a bad reputation (Luke 7), and an unclean woman (Luke 8:44). Genuine greatness may look different than what we may naturally think! Are you ready for Jesus to redefine greatness for you?

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