Some arguing followers of Jesus came to him and asked him who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus had a different way of thinking, speaking, and operating than the religious status quo of his day so he sat a child on his lap.
“Hey guys, I have something really important to tell you. Unless you are converted, unless you change your way of thinking, speaking, and operating, and become as little children, you will never enjoy the full benefits of the heavenly kingdom. When you get off your high horse and become receptive and pliable as this child, then you will begin enjoying the varied benefits of the kingdom.” (My paraphrase of Matthew 18: 1-4)
I would say Jesus was great in the kingdom. As a grown adult, how did he think, speak, and operate as child? What benefits did he enjoy?
As we study the recorded life and ministry of Jesus, we see repeatedly that what he spoke was Word-based, so obviously what he thought was Word based, and he constantly did those things the Word directed him to do. At the onset of his ministry, he was immersed in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love, so He became that receptive, pliable, loving vessel that the Father could use in whatever way he desired. Through this, Jesus enjoyed a demonstration of the power of the kingdom of heaven on earth, constantly seeing many people go free from multiple oppressions in their lives.
His followers got their lesson. They too were immersed in the Word. They too were immersed in the Holy Spirit. They too became vessels through which the Father was able to demonstrate the power of the heavenly kingdom. They were converted, they were changed from bickering, self-centered religious bigots to being living rivers of love bringing healing, deliverance, and new life to multitudes around them. They had a different way of thinking, speaking, and operating than the religious status quo of their day. These were followers of Jesus who got off their high horse and began enjoying the multiple benefits of the kingdom, blessing multitudes of that time and down through the ages. This is a legacy of true greatness for us all in all times.
Jackie Calhoun is a contributing columnist for the Siftings and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.