Who is Greatest? A Dumb Question! – Luke 9:43-48

Who is Greatest? A Dumb Question! – Luke 9:43-48

Introduction

Luke 9:43-48 ESV  And all were astonished at the majesty of God. But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples,  (44)  “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”  (45)  But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.  (46)  An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.  (47)  But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side  (48)  and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

  • Jesus get’s real with His disciples here, church… He lays it down… He says “Guy’s I am about to be delivered into the hand’s of men”.
    • What is He saying? He is saying “Guy’s I am about to be killed, I am about to be crucified, I am about to be sacrificed for the sins of the world.
    • But the disciples don’t get it, they don’t understand…
    • And for some reason they are afraid to ask Him.
    • We see here in scripture that God concealed the meaning of Jesus word’s from the disciples, so we can’t blame the disciples for not understanding what Jesus meant when He said” The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men”.
    • So we can’t blame them for is not asking… let me highlight verses 44 and 45 just for a moment…

Luke 9:44-45 ESV  “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”  (45)  But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

  • Jesus says “Let this sink into your ears” that means “HEY LISTEN UP GUYS THIS IS IMPORTANT”
    • Then He says He will be delivered and it says that it was concealed from them…
    • Ok following so far… BUT HERE IS THE CONFUSING PART… “THEY WERE AFRAID TO ASK HIM ABOUT THIS SAYING”.
  • Guy’s, if your boss tells you something is REALLY important, and you don’t understand… don’t you think you should ask..? Maybe clarify a bit?
    • And I get it, sometimes we are afraid to ask authority to clarify, we want to look like we understand, we want to look like we are in control… I get it… but here is where it is confusing… their lips were afraid to ask Jesus a GOOD question… but their hearts were contemplating a BAD question.
  • Let me say that again… they were afraid to ask Jesus a GOOD question… but their hearts were busy contemplating a BAD question.
  • Have you ever heard the phrase “There is no such things as BAD QUESTIONS only BAD ANSWERS?
    • WRONG! There are absolutely such things as bad questions… I don’t know who came up with that saying, but it certainly wasn’t Jesus… that’s why today’s sermon is titled “Who is the greatest? There Are Such Things as Bad Questions!

Bring Title Slide Up

PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY

Point One – The Sin of Wanting to Be The Greatest

  • Point one: The sin of wanting to be greatest. I.E. the sin of pride… that’s what’s going on here, that’s the terrible, bad, stupid question that the disciples are pondering in their heart and then overflowing into conversation… look at the context of this conversation…

Luke 9:44-46 ESV  “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”  (45)  But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.  (46)  An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.

  • The audacity of this moment….
    • Jesus just tells them that He is about to die… and instead of asking Jesus what He meant, which by the way would have been a GOOD question… instead of asking Jesus what He meant, they began arguing over this BAD question… who is the greatest.
  • Seriously think about this moment for a second…
    • Jesus is like “I am about to die” and the disciples are like “yeah yeah yeah, but which one of us is the greatest?!”
    • WHAT?! Yeah, y’all, that’s a bad question.
  • First of all: WHO CARES?! Serve Christ!
  • Second of all: WHO CARES?! SERVE CHRIST.
  • You want to know who the greatest is?! I will tell you! JESUS IS THE GREATEST!
  • Yet, let’s be real, lets keep it 100… it’s part of the human nature to want to be great, isn’t it.
    • Men and women will go through great lengths to be considered great… to be lifted up above other people.
  • It is a pride condition… wanting to be better than others… and unfortunately Christians struggle with this too…
    • We are like “Ok we have given our lives to Christ, we are serving Him… but I want to be the GREATEST servant of Christ”
    • There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a GREAT servant of Christ… you should desire that…
    • But to want to be the GREATEST servant of Christ is to want to be better than other servants of Christ… and when you START wanting to be better than others, you STOP praying for others to be successful.
  • You know what I do? I pray that each and everyone of you would be greater than me in Christ… that your ministry would be greater… that your reaping would be greater… that your faith would be greater… that your rewards would be greater than mine…
    • WHY?! Because if I want to be the GREATEST then it doesn’t make since for me to pray that you would be great… because that is just making it harder for me to be greatest.
    • If your great, and I want to be greatest… then I have to be greater… so subconsciously I stop praying for your greatness… I stop striving to help you and sharpen you and grow you…
  • Do you see the problem…? And more than that, what’s the motivation for wanting to be greatest… it’s not that you want to serve Christ…  because honestly… let’s just look at it from my standpoint…
    • If I am the greatest, then that is ONE person serving Christ well.
    • But if you’re the greatest that’s a whole church full of people serving Christ well.
    • So if I really want to serve Christ well, then I am going to pray for others more than I pray for myself, because I desire the BODY of Christ to be great, not just me… one part, amen?!
  • Besides, you know what the Bible calls lifting yourself up? They call that pride… Here’s what scripture says about pride…

Proverbs 11:2 ESV  When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Proverbs 8:13 ESV  The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Proverbs 16:18 ESV  Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Galatians 6:2-3 ESV  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  (3)  For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

James 4:6 ESV  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

  • Do you want God to oppose you?! THEN YOU BETTER NOT ASK DUMB QUESTIONS LIKE “WHO IS THE GREATEST AMONGST US”…
  • And guys I see it in the church all the time… Can I be real? Can I be real church? Some people might get offended on this one…
    • People show this sin in the church all the time, and I don’t even think they know they are doing…
    • People who come to church ONE TIME and try to convince me I should let them preach
      • They tell me how great they are… how gifted they are… how much of a blessing they would be to the church…
      • This happens about twice a year guys… and I honestly can say I have never invited someone like that to preach…
    • Like I don’t even know you and you want me to give pulpit time to you… and you want to convince me of this fact by convincing me you are the greatest…
      • No… the people I ask to preach are the people who I see making Christ Great in their lives. Who proclaim Christ as the greatest… that’s who get’s pulpit time… because I want this pulpit to be about Jesus. PERIOD. Amen?!
    • I get people who have been with us for a while who get legitimately offended that I have not put them in a position of leadership.
      • Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with desiring to be a leader, especially if you are called to be a leader.
      • There is nothing wrong with making that known.
    • BUT PLEASE! Don’t send me an angry text at 3 in the morning because you feel like you are so great that you need to be publicly recognized in the church…
      • Man I get those texts y’all.
  • And you know church, I think this is such a fitting sermon on the heals of the last two messages about calling…
    • Because for as many people who feel aimless without a calling, and that sermon series was so encouraging for brothers and sisters in that camp…
    • But for as many fell aimless, there are just as many who feel slighted by their calling… that they wish there calling was as “GREAT” as being  pastor, or worship leader, or prophet…
  • Like people get in their mind that because I am a pastor I am somehow greater than them…
    • THAT’S A LIE FROM THE DEVIL! I am not the GREATEST in this church. Period. CHRIST IS.
      • CAN I GET AN AMEN FOR THAT?!
  • But that begs the question… doesn’t it… I know someone is thinking it… But who is the greatest aside from Christ….
    • I mean we all know God is the greatest… but who is the greatest other than Him?

Point Two – But really, Who is Greatest?

  • Point two this morning, but really, who is the greatest?
  • I want to answer this question for you, even though it’s a bad question to ask… I want to answer it.
    • Why would I spend time answering such a bad question?
      • Two reasons… first, I believe God takes what was meant for evil… like a prideful question… and turns it to good.
      • Second… because JESUS answered this question!

Luke 9:46-48 ESV  An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.  (47)  But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side  (48)  and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

  • To answer the question who is the greatest, Jesus took a child and put the child next to Himself.
    • You want to know who the greatest people in our church are?
      • Ezra, and Hannah, and Selah, and Seanna, and Prophet, and Jedidiah, and Najia, and Davion, and Corban, and Noah, and Isaac, and every kid that’s in the nursery, in the children’s church, or even in the womb this morning…
      • Why? Because the potential they have is so much greater than then any kind of potential that you and I will ever have.
      • Even Fred, and Joshua, and Micaiah and Kaylee and Jayden…
        • Because they haven’t made the mistakes that many of you and I have made yet… they haven’t waisted huge swaths of their lives like many of us have.
        • They still have the opportunity to give EVERYTHING they have for Christ. From begging to end, they have the ability to give it all to Christ.
  • But that doesn’t mean that we can’t be great for God, our mistakes don’t define us. Amen?! Our past doesn’t define us! Amen?
    • The truth is these kids have SO MUCH MORE potential, therefore I pray that the next generation will be so much greater than us for Christ, amen?!
  • And in the meantime, while we serve God, with the power and the grace and authority that He has given us, we can be great by SERVING OTHERS!

Luke 9:48 ESV  and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

  • Whoever is least among you all is the one who is great?! What does that mean?! It means that the one who is humble and is a servant to all, that one is the great one.
  • We can all agree that Jesus is the greatest… amen? God is the greatest… amen?!
  • Then if we want to emulate the greatest, if we want to be great, then we must not desire to be served but to serve…

Mark 10:43-45 ESV  But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,  (44)  and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.  (45)  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  • You want to know who is great in our church… let me tell you…
    • Sister Pam, I know you watch these sermons later… Sister Pam, you are a GREAT servant of God.
    • Pam is great because she sacrifices herself every Sunday to serve the children of this church.
    • Sister Teri and all the nursery workers… you guys are GREAT! And I mean that in a heavenly sense! Because you sacrifice to serve those kids.
    • Everybody who wakes up early to help set up church and stays late to help tear down, you guys are GREAT.
    • Everyone who gives to missions even when it hurts so that the people of Sierra Leonne and Armenia and Guatemala can feed on the Word of God… you are GREAT!
    • The treasurers who stay after, the teachers who teach before church, the ushers and the greaters and those who help with security… you are GREAT.
    • The parents who raise their children to love Christ… YOU ARE GREAT.
    • The friends who love and pray for their friends salvation and don’t stop until they reap that harvest… YOU ARE GREAT.
    • The workmen and women who are not afraid to share Christ in the workplace YOU ARE GREAT.
  • This is the kind of person who is great, AMEN?!
  • And you will notice that I did not mention myself, or Pastor Amanda, or Elder Jay, or Pastor Teresa, or Pastor Moses. BECAUSE I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOU DON’T NEED ELDER OR PASTOR IN FRONT OF YOUR NAME TO BE GREAT IN THE KINDOM OF GOD! YOU SIMPLY NEED TO SERVE GOD AND SERVE OTHERS, AMEN?!
    • COME ON! BE PUMPED UP TO BE GREAT FOR GOD! It’s a wonderful thing to desire to be great, it’s a terrible thing to desire to be greatest.
  • You see when you want to be greatest you want to lift yourself up. You want to lift yourself up above others.
    • And what’s crazy is… if you would actually do that, you would be considered great…
    • IF YOU WOULD ACTUALY BE LIFTED UP ABOVE OTHERS YOU WOULD BE GREAT… but you are going about it the wrong way.
    • Here is how you get above everyone else.
    • Take up your cross… lie down on it… take a nail through each of your wrists and through your ankles… then be “Lifted” up above everyone else. That’s how you become great…

John 3:14-16 ESV  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  (15)  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.  (16)  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Conclusion

  • Let’s conclude with some prayer y’all… would you bow your heads and close your eyes…
    • You know the disciples weren’t the only one to ask a stupid question… a guy named Nikodemus once asked a stupid question…

Gospel Call
Alter Call

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