Welcome to Friday’s podcast
Our reading today is Luke 9: 37-50. Today we’ll focus on verses 46-48
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.”
A Sheffield man, Tony Foulds, has become something of an internet sensation.
During the second world war he was playing football in Sheffield’s Endlcliffe Park when the boys noticed a low flying aircraft – a US B-17 Flying Fortress, known as Mi Amigo, the crew were waving and the boys waved back. Moments later the aircraft crashed into the woods in 1944.
It turns out the crew were trying to get the boys to move so they could land the aircraft – wanting to save the boys, the pilot crashed the plane into the nearby woods and all the crew lost their lives.
Tony felt he owed them so much, so has looked after the Memorial in Endlicffe park for nearly 75 years. No one knew who he was or what he did until he met BBC Journalist Dan Walker who was walking his dog and met Tony and shared his story.
This week Tony was on BBC TV sat next to the US Ambassador Woody Johnson. Tony’s dream was to see a fly over, and on February 22nd this year US 48th Fighter Wing will fly over Endcliffe Park.
Thousands of people have visited the memorial at Endcliffe Park. The Council have had to make upgrades and now Tony is stopped in the street – he’s famous.
It’s a story of a man who has served without recognition for nearly a lifetime – it’s deeply powerful. It’s very humbling.
In today’s passage Jesus begins to challenge the disciples because an argument has broken out about who is the greatest. Jesus being omniscient – knowing all things – sees the state of their hearts.
So, picking up a child, he makes this point: ‘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…’
We honour children in our country. To honour means to hold in high esteem. In Scandinavian countries for example, they’re held in higher honour. In Jesus’ time – children were seen and not heard.
By holding the child Jesus is aligning himself with the child.
We are called to honour.
The culture of the day meant that one would be always sizing someone up to see what their social standing was – you would only talk with someone of an equal social standing. So it’s a perfectly normal question to ask: who is better?
When I worked in London people would sometimes say: which school did you go to? Or which University? It’s a way of boxing people.
We’re not to do that.
We’re to be people of honour.
Disciples are called to give honour to people. In the same way the BBC journalist Dan Walker has publicly honoured Tony Foulds – we too are to hold people in high regard.
But Jesus honours ALL people.
That’s for us too.
I can honour those people I like. Those people I respect. The people, like Tony Foulds, I think who totally deserve it.
What about those who are always negative? Those who are just frankly weird. The ones I’d rather cross the road to avoid.
Last year a group of young adults from Bethel Church, Redding, CA visited our church. They were wonderful. What struck me was the way in which they were so life giving. They were so encouraging – it wasn’t just Americans being positive, it was deeply powerful.
Words have the power to tear down or to build up.
Bill Johnson, the leader of Bethel Church, says of honour – you treat people as you would treat Jesus. Honour is not flattery or smooth words – you see people as Jesus sees them.
If we’re to do what Jesus does than – am I am honouring person? What is the culture around me?
Respect is earned. Trust is earned. Honour is given – freely.
Who can you honour today?
Lord help us to be a people of honour – speaking life and hope to all we meet.
READING: Luke 9:37-50
The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. A man in the crowd called out, ‘Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.’
‘You unbelieving and perverse generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.’
Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.
While everyone was marvelling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, ‘Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.’ But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and made 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.’
‘Master,’ said John, ‘we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.’
‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said, ‘for whoever is not against you is for you.’