Luke 9 v 48. “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 he who is least among you all – he is the greatest.”
These disciples had themselves experienced great success when Jesus sent them out to preach. Furthermore three of them had been with him on the Mount of Transfiguration. Perhaps they were beginning to think that they were very important people, and that is why they began to quarrel amongst themselves about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus answers them by taking a child and effectively saying to them: If I chose to send a child out in my name, instead of you, it would be equally important whether people received the child and his message or not.
The importance is not in the child, nor even the apostles. The importance lies in that the messengers represented Christ, and Christ represented God. So then, there were no degrees of importance, even the least of them, if he truly represented Christ and the Father, was great.
Now another lesson emerges. The disciples found another person casting out demons using the Lord’s name. They thought this was their territory alone and stopped the man. John says to Jesus “He was not one of us”.
This tendency to be exclusive always dogs human beings. There is a natural tendency to think our group has it all. This is arrogant self-importance – especially considering that earlier in the chapter nine disciples could not cast out a single demon. What pride lurks in our hearts, even when we have been greatly blessed.
Christ’s answer was: “He who is not against you is for you”. In other words in time to come they would find working for Christ difficult. If they found people who, even though their faith was not perfect, were willing to assist them, they were to be thankful.
Do not despise those who help Gospel work on its way, even if they do not cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘I’ to your satisfaction.