An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side 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.”
John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”
Jesus did not address the argument. He circumvented it with the child. The child sits at the bottom of the pecking order in human society. Then comes the statement that is in opposition to human nature. The one who is least is greatest. How can one be both?
The response from John shows just how difficult it is to ‘get it.’ John recounts telling how they told the one who is not one of them to stop driving out demons in Christ’s name. This one is exercising the power in the name of Jesus, yet he is not one of them. The rebuke from Jesus is gentle. “the one who is not against you is for you.”
This comes on the heels of the inability of the disciples to drive out the demon in the young child. It highlights just how difficult it is to leave the natural bent of human nature and take on the mind of Christ.
The least is greatest…accept a child, you accept me…if they are not against you they are for you. Transformation of human nature to understand and accept spiritual nature. Transformation that involves the assimilation of these truths into our nature so that we become one with Christ, in nature, in action. We are a new creation in Christ; allow that new creation to surface, drive back and rebuke the old human nature. This is a daily, hourly, effort with willingness on our part necessary. The least is great…accept a child, you accept me… be transformed through the renewing of your mind.