Let’s read Luke 9:46-48, “Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” 

How self-centered man is.  The Lord had just mentioned his impending death in Luke 9:44 where He said, “…the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.”  Even as the Lord spoke of His death, the hearts of His disciples were on themselves, desiring to be the greatest.  They still supposed that the Lord was about to establish a kingdom of great glory; and they wanted to know which of His disciples would be elevated to the highest positions in it.  The disciples did not ask the Lord about this, talking only among themselves.  However, the Lord “perceiving the thought of the heart” addressed this issue with them.

In setting a child beside Him, the Lord began to give His disciples a great lesson on humility.  Mark 9:36 tells us, “And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them…”  So, the Lord placed this child so that all His disciples could see him.  Then the Lord used this young person as an example of lowliness to His followers.  He would later say in Matthew 23:11-12, “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” 

The lesson here, I believe, is that greatness is found in those who humble themselves to minister to those who are lightly esteemed…those whom the world would consider inconsequential or of little worth.  In a parallel portion, we read the words of the Lord in Matthew 18:4 saying, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  In that portion, the Lord addresses the need to be as humble as a little boy or girl.  In the portion here in Luke 9, the Lord addresses the need for us to reach out and identify with those who are esteemed low in the world’s eyes. In both instances, humility is required. 

Of course, the greatest example we have in the Bible of true humility is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  We read of his great humility in Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

The Lord promised to exalt the humble (as we read in Matthew 23:11-12), so it stands to reason that the one who humbles himself the greatest will be elevated the greatest.  The Lord Jesus humbled Himself more that anyone has ever done or could ever do…so we see that He is exalted high above anyone else.  We read in Philippians 2:9-11, “Wherefore God also hath HIGHLY EXALTED HIM, and given him a NAME WHICH IS ABOVE EVERY NAME: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  The Lord taught the importance of humility, so He humbled Himself, giving us the perfect example of how we should humble ourselves.  We read in James 4:6 that, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”  May we learn this valuable lesson and follow the instruction of 1 Peter 5:6, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”  (CC)  (497.2)