Who is the Greatest?
The quest for greatness, power and superiority is one of the factors that can cripple a united nation, family or brotherhood. When men seek power, they are ready to kill and destroy.
So many times, man is preoccupied with the question “who is the greatest among them. Sometimes, he is only interested on who can be the most powerful among them?
The question of “who is the greatest or who can be the one in charge is a major factor evident in every political, social and economic structure of society. The quest for this has consistently ripped men apart and destroyed our strongholds.
This is also what happened between the apostles of Jesus today. As Jesus was talking to them, they were busy arguing about who is the greatest.
In this gospel, Jesus tells us who is the greatest. Let us take a simple analysis.
What Could be the Apostles’ Interest?
In the gospel text today, Jesus and his disciples are on their way through Galilee. While they are still on the way, Jesus was busy instructing and teaching them.
Mark was specific that Jesus is teaching and explaining to them the destiny that is awaiting Him. He was instructing and preparing them about his suffering, crucifixion, death and resurrection.
He explained to them how the Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men. They will put him to death. Then, three days after his death, he will rise again.
Mark was also specific to tell us that they did not understand what he said. They were also afraid to ask him.
The next thing that we hear was that when they came to Capernaum Jesus was asking them what they were arguing on the road. They kept their mouths shut. Jesus already knows that they were arguing about who is the greatest.
Here, one would expect the apostles to seek more clarification from what Jesus said about his destiny.
One would also expect them to at least show concern and care for what Jesus was saying. Since, it was a topic concerning death and suffering, we expect them to show concern. Hence, they leave the major topic of discussion to argue who is the greatest.
One would ask, what are the apostles’ interests? Should it not be in the words of Jesus? Should it not be to seek more clarifications?
How did they catapult into dragging for greatness? Is it not for their interest and glory? Since they see Jesus as a political Messiah, may be they are arguing who will be the Vice President. It was obvious that they focused only on their interests leaving the topic of discussion.
In the same way, many people only focus on their interests. We sometimes focus on what we shall gain and how to outsmart others.
Many people do not care about the suffering of people, their cries and yearnings, as far as what is happening is satisfying their stomachs.
As Jesus asks the disciples today, what they are arguing among themselves, we also have to ask ourselves what is occupying our minds when we want to aspire towards a position? What is your interest?
In the same way, the apostles do not care that Jesus is talking about his suffering and death, many leaders, politicians and selfish people do not care about the yearnings and tears of people, because they want to be the greatest, they want to be the one to rule, even if the nation is crumbling, even if things fall apart. They do not care. What could be our interest?
The True Greatest.
When the apostles could not respond to Jesus about what they were arguing along the way, Jesus called them to him and advised them that ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’
Then, He took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms around him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
In essence, Jesus takes this opportunity to advise them who is truly the greatest and who is not. He also intimates to us what true greatness consists of. The response from Jesus indicates these:
1. True greatness does not come from an argument, it comes from a personal decision to add value to the lives of people. It is a call to be a servant of all.
True greatness is not when we plan on how to deal with people, rather it is a call to add value to the lives of others.
When you decide to find solutions to the problems of people, or when we decide to be the solution in the lives of others and pursue it with all our heart, we shall become great.
2. Therefore, Jesus teaches us that true greatness does not necessarily come from what we think we shall gain, but from what we shall give.
When we interest ourselves in what we shall gain only, sometimes we look for smart ways to get there which will still come back to hurt us.
One who focuses only on gain surely becomes selfish. True greatness comes when we put the interest of the suffering masses first before our interest. The secret here is that when you put others first in whatever thing you do, you will be rewarded.
3. True greatness comes when we are willing to serve, not when we are willing to deprive and intimidate others because of our position. We become what we are to serve God and humanity, not to serve ourselves first.
4. True greatness comes when we are willing to humble ourselves like little children, trust in the power and grace of God as we trust our parents and are willing to be close to God as children do to their parents.
It is when we welcome the truths of the gospel as children welcome every truth you tell them. They accept whatever promise you made to them because they trust you will never disappoint them.
In the same way, God wants us to trust deeply in His promises because He is our God and does not disappoint.
Therefore, the greatest is one who makes himself a child before God. This is the one whose interest is to serve humanity and God. Therefore, Let our focus be to serve and wipe the tears of others.
May God help us and give us the grace to serve Him and humanity wholeheartedly. He will never forsake You. Amen