Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.
They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. For they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”
The greatest. The disciples do not answer when Jesus asks what they have been discussing along the way. They do not reveal the subject matter. But we know because the Gospel writer tells us.
The other word for discussing in Greek is arguing. The disciples argue who among them is the greatest, but their criterion is problematic. Perhaps the evangelist does not want to present how foolish the disciples have been.
Jesus takes the initiative to explain the bone of contention. He sits down and teaches that the greatest is the servant of all. The first is the last and the servant of all.
Jesus is clear about who is the greatest: the one who does not think of oneself as the best or having the authority that exacts obedience and tribute from others, but the one who serves everyone without discrimination.
The greatest is the one who stoops down to receive a little child for Jesus’ sake. Greatness in the world is measured by power, money, and prestige. In God’s Kingdom, the greatest does not display a sense of entitlement. Rather, one asks for opportunities to serve every person, especially the insignificant.
Do you feel great when you associate with the rich and the famous, taking selfies with them and posting in the social media?