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Luke 9:43-45

Luke 9:43 And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,

Luke 9:44  Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.

Luke 9:45 But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying

After Jesus heals the demon possessed boy Luke tells us the crowd was "amazed at the mighty power of God" vs 43.

But then Jesus immediately takes control of the narrative by saying, "let what I'm about to say sink down into your ears". 

Question, do you think what Jesus is about to say is important, do you think his followers should pay close attention?

The answer is obviously yes, Jesus tells them that he is going to be arrested and crucified. 

What's interesting of the apostles is also interesting of us modern followers of Jesus, the Bible says they did not understand what he was saying, why? Because it was "hid" from them. 

This raises the questions, what does it mean that it was "hid" from them and who was doing the hiding?

What deos it mean that it was hid?

Earlier in Chapter 9 Jesus has just revealed to his disciples that it was God's will that he be arrested and crucified, how did his disciples respond to that news?

Mat 16:21 From that time forth began Hesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 

Mat 16:22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 

Question, did Pter like what Jesus was telling him? Obviously, he didn't we know this because he tried to stop Jeus from carrying out this plan. 

So, we find the answer to the question, who "hid" this saying from his discriples was the disciples.

Who is doing the hiding?

They hid it from themselves because they did not like what they were being told. 

This is important because Jeus is about to give us some very important information, the question is are you ready to hear it?

The more I preach the more this truth is ingrained in my mind, most people only hear what they want to hear. 

ANd if you tell them anything that they do not want to hear, they will either get upset or they will ignore you. 

Jesus tells his disciples that he is going to be crucified, and since they didn't like what he told them they ignored him. 


Today Jesus is going to point us to the road that leads to greatness! The question is, do you want to hear? Because if you are only willing to listen to what you want to hear, then you can never be great. 

We read here how the disciples were arguing about who was going to be the greatest in the Kingdom of God. 

Jesus overhears this argument and then sets them straight about what it means to be great, but the question is, are you ready to listen. 

I could stand up here and tlak until I'm blue in the face but if you do no want to listen to me, we are both wasting our time. 

What Jesus is doing here today as he's saying, "this is what it means to be great if you want to be great list to this!"

Luke 9:46 Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.

Luke 9:47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,

Luke 9:48 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.

Before we get into what Jesus says about greatness, I want us to notice two things. 

  1. The disciples are arguing about what will be the greatness in the kingdom of GOd. Which is to say, the argument is not about what is to be great, they were arguing is about who is the greatest. 
  2. Jesus doesn't correct their desire to be great, instead he gives them a new definition of what it means to be great. 

The disciple's idea of greatness.

This isn't explicitly told to us here in the text before us today, however the other gospels give context to the argument. 

To summarize,their idea of greatness was about status, who would sit on the right hand of Jesus?

We have a saying in America that illustrates this mindset, "if you're no first your last."

  • To their eyes greatness wasn't living a life service instead it was about being served.
  • Greatness was not about humble dependence of GOd, instead it was about striving for recognition.

Jesus wants us to be great. 

It is important that you stand as a light in the world, and the way you become light is by being great!

1Peter 2:15 "for so is the will of God,that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:" 

Some people will never read the Bible, but everyone you come in contact with will read your life!

Therefore, it is important that we strive for greatness in all aspects of our lives. 

That is, we should be great in the way that Jesus describes in our text. The question is are you striving for greatness? 

The road to greatness:

A lot of times when you read the Bible the information given is the exact pposite of what the world says. 

  • The world says if you're not first you're last.
  • The world says if you don't have a picture of yourself doing it on Instagram then it didn't happen. 

But Jesus in our text gives us 3 principles of greatness: 

  1. To be great, you must receive the outcast like you would recive Jesus.
  2. To be great, you must treat everyone a if they are imporant.
  3. To be great, you can't get caught up in childish drama.

To be great you must receive the outcast like you would receive Jesus.

Luke 9:47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,

Luke 9:48 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.

First, I want us to notice that Jesus is dealing with their inner thoughts not their words. 

This is important because all of us are capable of saying the right thing. We've grown up in church and we've heard this story countless times how Jesus rebukes his disciples for being arrogant. 

So, all of us have an intellectual understanding of what Jesus is trying to say here. 

But what needs to happen is for us is this truth needs to sink into our bones, it should become a part of who you are. 

In those days children were to be seen and not heard. 

Serious people didn't hang out with children. Serious people, the kind of people who are in charge of other people did not have time for children.

By the way, this is how wer treat children today. At thanksgiving we have the table for adults, and wer have the kid's table.

Remember sitting at the kids table when you were a chil, how it was wobbly and unstable. If someone important were to visit your house for Thanksgiving you would sweat them at the old card table your great, great grandmother gave you. 

The point that Jesus is here is that to be great is to treat the unloved and unlovely as if there were special. 

The measure of your greatness is not how you treat the imporant people, rather it is how you treat the people whose society thinks is worthless. 

Darrell Bock once said: " A disciple's relationship with God enhances the value of other persons.


Treat everyone as if they are important

Luke 9:48  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. 

Usually, when we talk about greatness, we start with comparisons: the point here is everyone in the community is important therefore everyone is to be valued. 

The history of the world is the history of strong people taking advantage of weak people. To be a follower of Jesus means that wer value and care for the people the world leaves behind. 

  • The least valuable. 
  • The least successful
  • The least popular

The people who everyone else leaves behind and forgets we are to serve and recieve them like we are receiving Jesus. 

James compares the way rich people are treated to how poor people are treated. 

We say to the rich person set and the best seat. Have our best food. We honor them and Revere them in hopes they will share some of their money with us. 

Whereas poor people, we shun and exclude them from our community, because to our mind they have nothing to offer. 

Jesus is telling us if we want to be great we have to treat the people in our society that no one loves and no one likes as if they are Jesus. 

To be great you can't get caught up in childish drama. 

Luke 9:49  And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. 

Luke 9:50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us. 

Luke connects this story with Jesus' comments on greatness because we alll have tendency to feel as if we are the only ones doing the will of God.

You drive through any small town in Texas, and you will find dozens of Baptist churches, and they're all splits from one another. 

The point here is that instead of striving for greatness John was worried about other people doing the work of God there were outside of his camp.

This is not deny the importance of doctrine and theology, rather this is about priorities. 

If another church is reaching out to the world preaching the gospel and teaching the Bible, we should be for them. We are not to compare our success with their success, instead wer are to praise God that someone else is out there winning souls. 

But that's not what Christians do instead we complain if someone doesn't believe the exact same thing that we do. 

Jesu is telling us that if we want to be great can't get caught up childish drama, instead we are to keep the main thing the main thing. 

Our takeaway

  • Being great is not about comparing success stories.
  • Being great is not about how many rich and important people come to church.
  • To be great we must live a life of himility and service. 
  • We must serve the people no one else wants to serve.
  • We must love the people no one else wants to love. 



1 Baker exegetical commentary the gospel of Luke page 896