Matthew 18:1-4 Humility Is Greatest

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Humility Is Greatest

Because of repeated accounts in the gospels, it would seem that ‘greatness’ was a concern for the disciples.  In our day people often talk about ‘significance’ or ‘legacy’, and their desire would be the same.  Greatness need not be a negative thing, but it often is rooted in pride.  When an individual wants to further themselves and promote themselves it can be destructive to spiritual growth.  We need to have the attitude of a child.  A child looks to adults with simple trust.  The child allows parents to shape their view of reality.  In the same way, those who bend reality to their own ends lose their grip on reality.  Those who serve self end up with a poor sense of community.  Those who, like a child, allow the heavenly Father to shape their reality will find they see reality most accurately.  In such a narcissistic society as the West is cultivating, it is hard to look past ourselves and our own schemes to see the greater reality of God and his designs.  We need to stop our consumer lusts and we need to be still in the chaos around us and see that if we want a healthy community, it will come from sacrificing our own agenda for the agenda of a loving Father who teaches us to sacrifice our needs for the common good.


  1. About what were the disciples arguing?
  2. What did Jesus use as an illustration?
  3. How would a childlike attitude foster healthy community?
  4. In what ways do you desire greatness?
  5. How would a childlike disposition lead you to real greatness?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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1 Response to Matthew 18:1-4 Humility Is Greatest

  1. Kelli says:

    1. Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
    2. He called a little child to himself and told them that they needed to become like little children.
    3. It is the lowly position of the child that Jesus highlights. When we consider others above ourself, we foster healthy community. I made the mistake of teaching our 4-year-old son that love is putting others above ourself. In doing so, I’ve now created a love monster. Rarely a day goes by that he doesn’t tell me that since I love him I need to put him above myself.
    4. I desire to great things for God. I want my life to count. And I think the motive behind that desire is sometimes pride.
    5. My prayer is that God would do what he will with my life. Whatever will bring him glory is what I want to truly desire.

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