A captive of pride

Luke 9: 46 - 49

“For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”


We do not hear it very often, but the phrase “junioris prioris” was often heard just before members of a Presbytery processed into church for a special service giving the signal that the most junior of ministers should proceed first.  I once whispered “good looking ones first”, but it didn’t go down terribly well.  It was always amusing to watch the more senior of ministers  making a point of holding back to show how senior they were which kind of went against the spirit of the instruction!


This principle of the first being last is a key part of Jesus teaching expressed in what he said in this passage.  This wasn’t the first time that Jesus had to speak to his friends on the subject of greatness.  Like so much of his teaching and his ministry as a whole Jesus turns things upside down, or turns them the right way up.


A bit of competition doesn’t do any harm if it ups our game and makes us better at what we do and how we do it.  When it encourages rivalry it can grow arms and legs creating divisions between them and us, of us looking down at them, then there is something seriously wrong.


A thread woven through a lot of what Jesus had to say was humility.  It is a humility that challenges a sense of pride that we don’t need anyone else’s help and support.  It is a humility that we see in passages like this one that challenges that sense of being better or greater than anyone else.  There is a sense of putting not just God first in our lives but also putting others first.  This doesn’t mean that we become pushovers or allow others to trample all over us.  It does mean an acceptance that we are in it together.  We are different and our gifts our different.  They are as different as varied as we are as individuals.  Different as they are, they are all of value as all of us are of equal value in the eyes of God and in how we can contribute to the advancement of the kingdom of God.


We are a team and as part of that team no-one is greater than the other.  We all have strengths and weaknesses.  May we continue to encourage each others strengths and benefit from them and may we support and encourage each other in times of weakness to ensure that we go from strength to strength.


  • Have you ever felt belittled by the actions of another?  Have you ever been tempted to look down at another?  What does Jesus’ teaching here about humility suggest to you?

Lord, it is indeed hard to be humble at times.

Help us to look to your Son to follow his example as  the servant of all..

May we continue to hold the Christ light for each other and be that light.