It’s funny to hear people compare contemporary athletes, especially basketball players, in terms of which ones are among the all-time greatest. It’s all very subjective for the most part; however, there is one name in any discussion of basketball that seems to close the case in most arguments: Michael Jordan. All parties involved usually agree that Jordan’s success is unrivaled. No matter how successful current and future players become, it’s unlikely that anyone will set the standard for basketball achievement quite like Michael Jordan. At the end of the day there are great players in the sport today, but there’s only one MJ.

With infinitely greater significance than the above analogy, Jesus has set a standard that is totally unrivaled. In Luke’s account, the disciples of Jesus are chattering among themselves about which one of them is greatest. Isn’t that a silly discussion? Here they have just taken the Lord’s Supper with Christ Himself, and now they are concerned about their own significance within the kingdom? To follow up Jesus’ intimate self-giving feast with such a dispute is a red flag of spiritual immaturity. Do you find yourself (secretly) comparing those in the kingdom of God as greater or lesser? It might be evident that one is more spiritually mature or familiar with God’s Word, but is that evidence of greatness in the kingdom? Notice what Christ says in 22:27 (literally), “I am among you as one who serves.” This should’ve ended all discussion between these men. I doubt we could realistically have this debate in the presence of Jesus.

In our effort to be more like Jesus, we might find ourselves comparing and ranking each other, whether openly or secretly in our hearts. The point of being a Christian isn’t about comparing ourselves to other Christians; it’s about exalting Jesus as that perfect standard of godliness. There are great men and women of faith in the Bible, but nobody comes close to Jesus of Nazareth. There are likely godly elders, deacons, and preachers at your congregations, but they don’t hold a candle to Christ. Should we even bother comparing ourselves to one another? No. This will take our focus off the ultimate standard for living. Instead, let’s strive to build one another up, looking to Jesus as the ultimate standard of righteousness and humility (Hebrews 12:1-2). When we seek to rank ourselves in the kingdom of God, we are missing the point. Jesus is the greatest in all aspects, one truly “out of our league,” who came to be servant of all.

Today I will…1. stop comparing or ranking myself with others, 2. see Jesus as the greatest standard for living; and 3. consciously seek to be the “youngest” or the “least” in order to be more like the great One of Heaven.