An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”Luke 9:46-48 NIV
Preceding this passage, Jesus is recorded as healing a demon-possessed boy. The crowd was amazed at what he had done. But, amid the acclaim, Jesus told his disciples for the second time about his upcoming appointment with the cross. They did not understand what he was talking about, and rather than ask about it, they fell to arguing instead. Which of them would be the greatest when Jesus became king? Who would get the places of honor in his kingdom?
In response, Jesus took a young child and put him/her in the place of honor at his side. The place that his disciples had been competing for. And he told them that to welcome this little child, in Jesus’ name, was, in essence, to welcome Jesus and the one who had sent him. In Jesus’ kingdom, it is the least who is the greatest and has the place of honor.
Who are the little children in your life? Those that are easy to overlook. Those you pass by without a glance. The ones who are insignificant to you. These are the ones that Jesus encourages us to welcome in his name.
If we saw Jesus walk into our place of worship, we would probably go out of our way to greet him and make him feel welcome. But we do have that opportunity every time we gather together. Jesus told us that whenever we come together, he will be with us (Matt. 18:20). And here, he tells us that the welcome we give a little child, the least significant among us, is the welcome we are offering to Jesus. So be sure when you gather with other believers that you take the time to welcome Jesus.