Luke 9:46 is a good reminder of our human weakness, and how very vulnerable we are to pride. Following the revelation of Christ’s glory in the transfiguration (Lk. 9:28-36), the demonstration of the disciples’ lack of faith that they could not drive out a demon (vv.37-43), and Jesus’ repeated prediction of His coming betrayal (vv.44-45), comes the remarkable statement that “An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest” (v.46).
That’s just like us, isn’t it? We see Jesus’ glory, we see our weakness, and somehow we get the lesson that we’re pretty great.
Jesus has a different lesson for them, and for us. “Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, ‘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” (vv.47-48).
Christ has a lesson to teach, when He directs the disciples’ attention to a little child. Greatness is not found in wealth, or education, or power, or celebrity status. Greatness is found in simple and childlike faith. Greatness is all about Christ: putting our focus off ourselves and onto Christ, and treating those the world sees as unimportant with Christlike love. Christ is great; our concern should be advancing His greatness.