Posted by: donnatallman | January 6, 2013

Greater Than, Less Than, or Equal To?

Considering Jesus Challenge

Luke 9:46

Day 6, January 6, 2013, Sunday

“An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood 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 the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.’” Luke 9:46-48

Power, position, comparison, evaluation, ambition, recognition, and ego – these components are all on horrible display during the disciples’ argument about which one of them will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Sadly, this isn’t the only time they argue about it; there are at least two other disagreements recorded in scripture. Matthew 20:24 describes the episode when the mother of James and John lobbies Jesus to give her sons preferential treatment in the kingdom, and then in Luke 22:24 the disciples again spiral down into an argument during the Last Supper.

The implication of the disciples closest to Jesus arguing over their position is that one (or more) of them thought they were “better than” the others. I don’t know if you have ever been around someone who has measured your “status” and determined you were “less than” they were, but comparison incites pride and disunity. Instead of comparing themselves to each other, the disciples should have considered adopting the spirit of a child.

When Jesus encouraged his disciples to receive a child, he wasn’t telling them to become childish, he was exhorting them to look at leadership in a whole new way. The least will become great, the foolish things will confound the wise, the weak will be made strong, and the one who leads will be the one who serves. Jesus was telling them that ambition would not be welcome in the kingdom God because that kingdom would be established on love and unity.

Here are some questions that came to mind this morning as I prayed through Luke 9:46-48:

Do I compare myself with others?

Would others describe me as ambitious or humble?

What role has ambition play in my spiritual life?

How does Jesus want me to adjust my perspective on serving others?

What can I learn about Jesus through the way he values children?

Considering Jesus Challenge Passage for Tomorrow January 7, 2013:

“Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’” Matthew 14:28-31

© Copyright, 2013 by Donna Tallman.




  1. Nothing good can come from comparing ourselves to others. If we think we are better off, we are filled with pride and if we feel they are better off we are discontent and jealous. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we should compare our hearts, attitudes and actions to those of Christ.

    Philippians 2:5
    Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus

    • Yes, Shelly, comparison is a dead end. There’s so much freedom and joy by aligning our hearts with Christ’s heart! Thanks for chiming in….welcome to the journey of Considering Jesus!

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