The Greatest In The Kingdom
Leaving the north country near Caesarea Philippi, Jesus and his
disciples started back to Capernaum. On the way Jesus told them, "The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men. They
will kill him, but he will rise again on the third day." The disciples did not understand what Jesus meant, and they were afraid to ask.
As they walked along some of the disciples began to argue about who would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven. They still thought
Jesus would set up an earthly kingdom and honor them with high positions.
When they reached Capernaum, Jesus took his disciples to a private home. He did not want to attract the crowds, and few people knew
about his stopping place.
While they were in Capernaum, a man who collected tax money for the temple in Jerusalem stopped Simon Peter. He asked the
disciple, "Does your master pay taxes?"
"Yes," Peter answered.
When Peter returned to the house where they were staying, he told Jesus about this. Jesus said, "Take your hook and line down to the
sea. There will be a piece of money in the mouth of the first fish you catch. Take this and pay our taxes."
Peter obeyed and found the piece of money in the fish's mouth, just as Jesus had said. After paying the tax, Peter returned to the place where they were staying.
When all the disciples were together, Jesus asked them,
"What were you arguing about on the way to Capernaum?"
No one answered. They were too ashamed to tell, but Jesus knew what they had talked about as they walked along the dusty road. Jesus said, "If anyone wants to be great, he must serve others." Taking
a little child into his arms, he said, "No one can enter the kingdom of heaven unless he becomes like a little child. Whoever is as humble as a little child shall be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. You must be careful not to do anything that will make a person lose faith in me."
To show the disciples how important each person was, Jesus said, "If a man has one hundred sheep and one goes astray, does he not
leave the ninety and nine and go to look for the one that is lost? When he finds the lost sheep, he is happier over it than over the
ninety-nine that are safe in the fold. In the same way your heavenly Father does not want to lose a single person from his kingdom."
Then John told Jesus that some of them had seen a man healing people in Jesus' name. "We told him to stop doing that because he
was not one of us."
"You should not have done that," Jesus said. "Whoever does a miracle in my name is helping me in my great work." Jesus must
have been discouraged that his disciples understood so little about him and his work.