Prepare to Listen. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Prayerfully Read Matthew 18:1-7
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ 2He called a child, whom he put among them, 3and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. 6‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7Woe to the world because of stumbling-blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling-block comes!
When Jesus told his disciples that Messiah would suffer and die, Peter rebuked him. Despite Jesus’ harsh rebuke of Peter, and further teaching about his suffering and death the disciples still didn’t get it. They showed their ignorance when they asked: “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Did they hope Jesus would name them? Let’s face it, don’t we also long to be great?
Jesus’ response was to put a child among them. Children, in that culture, were seen as less than human, having no value. They were “the weakest, most vulnerable, least significant human being you can think of.” And yet Jesus taught they were “the clearest possible signpost to what the kingdom of God will be like.”  That’s what greatness, Jesus’ way is about. The disciples’ ideas of greatness, not to mention our own, were tossed out. Jesus lifted up the least, a child, and said, “unless you change and become like children,” that is, humble, meek, poor in spirit, “you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” In other words, as John put it, “You must be born again.” Only then will we change and become like children. Sadly, we too often resist change. The essential nature of being Christian, followers of Jesus, is a willingness to change and become—more like a child, more like Jesus. In other words, born again.
What is your concept of greatness? Is it in line with Jesus’ teaching?
Respond in Prayer
Lord Jesus, you keep forcing me to re-think my ideas, even my dreams. Your concept of greatness is a challenge. Give me the courage to live your way, the way of weakness rather than power. Amen.
Live Obediently. Change and become like a child.
 Wright, N. T. Matthew for Everyone Part 2. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. 2004, p. 27.
 John 3:1ff.
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Despite having frequently read and taught Matthew's Gospel, preparing these daily devotions, taking that second gaze, has surprised me with newness.