But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesussaid to his disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” Luke 9:43-48
Jesus had just finished telling His disciples about his death; that the Son of Man would be put into the hands of men. Then, after Jesus told them about this event to come, the disciples sat at His feet and asked Him questions surrounding this event? No. The disciples began to worship Him for humbling Himself by becoming incarnate? Not even close. The disciples began to talk about which among them would be the greatest! Such a wicked sin is pride, that even when the Lord Jesus, who had performed many miracles among them, told the disciples about his death, and they begin to argue why they all deserved to be the greatest. Jesus then very wisely, teaching them a lesson, took a child and said, “..for He who is least among you all is the one who is great”. Consider the historical context: Unlike the parades at churches in America today, kids weren’t at the center of the circus (and if there were a circus, they would be cleaning the donkey’s manure). Not that children in general were treated harshly in First century Israel; the Jews had been enlightened by God and they understood, unlike our culture today, that children are a blessing from the Lord. Though children still being seen as tiny blessings, were low in status (that low rank is certainly better than what children are considered now: a parasite to abort at will). The highlight here, and something that is missed, is that Jesus saw value in the life of the little child just as much as he did in the learned scribe (yup, you heard it here, straight from a Baptist’s mouth). Our church culture is one that exalts the youth. “We are the future”, they chant. So, church services are now organized around what 15 year old Brian wants, because one day, though he is disobedient to his mom, spends most of his time playing World of War Craft, he will be the future leader of his church. If Brian and his mob of snotty friends want Hillsong United repeated at worship for 45 continuous minutes, my goodness we’ll give it to them. Where are the elderly in all of this? Of course, tossed to the side, like an old garment in your closet, never to be put to use again. Who cares what they want, they’re going to pass away soon anyway, right? They might, but they still matter, both to Jesus and to me. Jesus loves the old in the church, just as much as the young. They are both created in the image of God. I’m afraid that this praise of youth and good looks is the opposite of what scripture teaches us. Our good looks and youth will one day fade with time and then we’ll be the old geezer complaining of how worship is organized. Love the young. Love the old. They both matter. Equally.