Daily Word

What is great? | Matthew 18:1-4

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a little child and set him before them, 3 and said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever [ a ] humbles himself like this child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 

Matthew 18:1-4 (AMP)

Getting the context

For this discussion, we really need to remember the context. Earlier, Jesus had taken Peter, James and John alone up the mountain and was transfigured before them (Matthew 17:1-8). He had instructed them to not talk about it until after His resurrection from the dead. We can only imagine the other 8 had been asking them what happened, to which the three could not give a straight answer. This likely led to some jealousy. That, in turn, over time, probably led to today’s discussion.

Beauty of 4 gospels

We mentioned previously the benefit of multiple gospel accounts. This same discussion was also recorded in two other gospels, Mark 9:33-37 & Luke 9:46-48. These make it clear that the disciples were not quite forthright. In fact, it seems they had no intention to tell Jesus…until He asked them what they were talking about (Mark 9:33-34). Because this was another teachable moment, Jesus called them together to discuss the matter.

What is great?

Jesus doesn’t answer the question of who is greater. For one, He knows it would only fuel their self-consciousness and competitive comparisons leading to more strife. More importantly, He wants them to know they shouldn’t be thinking about who is great, but what makes someone great. And it’s not as the world thinks. It’s, as the AMP explains [in brackets] is, “repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving]”. Basically, humble yourself.

A great way to humble yourself is what Jesus starts out with: repent. It takes a lot of courage and humility to repent – not just to God, but to the person or people we have offended.


  • What is it that you worry about or are self-conscious of? 
  • When was the last time you humbled yourself in repentance?
Image from Pxfuel.com

🤞 May I notify you of new posts?

They'll be sent out as soon as new POSTs are created, which has been daily (hence the name) for over 15 years.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content