It is not really fair to make fun of the disciples. We are at a great advantage. We know the full story and we have the Spirit. (Yes, Pentecost means something). And I’m sure I’m bulldozing over huge cultural difference, but I just kinda think that human nature never changes. (Without the intervention of the Spirit.) The disciples’ questions may seem thick, but they are usually very logical. When they ask, like today, who is the greatest – they are asking a real question. Maybe not the way we would put it, but even a question that has prophetic background. Elisha asked for a double portion of the Spirit of Elijah. A prophet who is going away leaves a successor. Jesus has predicted his death three times in rapid succession. The disciples are just asking who’s next in line. What is the succession plan? A natural question.
But hierarchies and succession plans and great leaders are not what the church is about. The gospel does not depend upon the leader. Because the gospel is Christ’s. And he is present wherever two or three call in his name. And what does that look like? Keep on eye on the least – the little child. Be watchful; remain faithful. Look for the lost. Seek reconciliation; not just forgiveness but living with your brother who has wronged you. All of these things are how the church lives grace and depend not a whit on who the local leader is. You can choose to live a life guided by grace. (Enabled by the Spirit). The church is the place where that happens. Where ever two people practice grace instead of power – there Christ is.
So easy, yet so hard to do.