30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered over to human hands. He will be killed, and after three days he will rise." 32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.
33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all."
36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."
Jesus had said earlier- "The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many" (Mk. 10:45). Jesus was the ultimate servant- dying as a sacrifice- a ransom to set us free from sin, eternal death, and guilt. Yet still the disciples were jockeying for position, arguing about who is greatest. The last person is the person who is despised, has given up his or her reputation, has freely given up being at the head of the line, does not seek human reward or recognition, but just seeks to please the Father. When Jesus took a child as an example of greatness, he was taking a creature who naturally trusts- who knows they have no chance of greatness based on their own merits or strength. The greatest disciple are the ones who know they are dependent not on their education, their money, their ability, but on God's strength and grace. There is always a place for children in the Church because children teach us this important lesson- trusting in the Father.
Prayer: Lord, let me seek my greatness in you. Apart from you I can do nothing. But with you, all things are possible.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCfhAZjEnko ("Jesus Loves the Little Children"- turn the volume down a bit)