In 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Even though the two captains saw one other, each was too proud to yield first. Such prideful attitudes were just the opposite of what Jesus taught. On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus said to his disciples, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead.” Now while Jesus was focused on the treatment He was about to endure in Jerusalem, His disciples were debating who would be the greatest in His kingdom—totally ignoring the example of humble service Jesus was displaying to them. So He said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must take the last place and be the servant of everyone else.” To drive home His point, He sat down, took a little child in his arms, and said to them: “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.” Jesus taught them and us that the essence of greatness is not in the amount of power we can exercise over others; not in status, but in serving the weak, the powerless, and the most defenseless—those perceived to be insignificant as an innocent child.
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