The Greatest Family

One of the greatest gifts and challenges is family. There are those who value nothing above the ones who have the same blood flowing through their veins. Others experience trauma at the hands of the ones entrusted to have their best interest at heart. Jesus declared that those who are like children will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. They are His family, part of the family of God. Join us as we explore who makes up The Greatest Family.


1 Read Matthew 18:1; Matthew 20:20; James 4:10

The disciples have asked an interesting question. They are wondering how high their status will be in the kingdom of Heaven. This question has caused problems for them, and can do the same with us. Has the desire for recognition or a high position here and now ever caused problems? How so? Share with us here at Message on Social Media using #MessageMag.

2 Read Matthew 18:2

I don’t know where they were but can we visualize the sequence of events? Disciples talk amongst each other. They muster up the courage to ask Jesus about the level they will be on when the kingdom is built. Jesus doesn’t respond. He looks around and calls a kid to the group. He then tells the group that if you want to be on a high level, you’ll need to be more like this child. There is no recorded response. What do you think the disciples thoughts were?

3 Read Matthew 18:3

The family unit often revolves around children. As you read this, maybe there’s a child that comes to mind. Maybe you give anything and everything for your children. We focus our efforts so much to make sure their imaginations and energy is engaged. Here Jesus elevates that period of life, making it a prerequisite to entering the kingdom. Why? Do you have any ideas? We’d love to hear them! #MessageMag

4 Read Matthew 18:4; Philippians 2:5; Romans 12:2

If the idea of childlikeness as a prerequisite for gaining heaven wasn’t enough, Jesus then prescribed intentionality. Seek and take positions of humility. Apologize first. Volunteer often. Be slow to speak, quick to listen, and somehow, enjoy life anyhow. Has following Jesus ever felt like you have to get the short-end of the stick? Share it with us, you’d be surprised that you’re not alone in that feeling. #MessageMag

5 Read Matthew 18:4; Philippians 2:1-5

The irony of Jesus’ assertion to become as a little child is that the promised result is “greatness.” I don’t know if His idea of greatness is the same as ours. The last time I checked, greatness is rising above, not stooping below. It’s as if Jesus wants the Kingdom to be comprised of people who are fun-loving, considerate, and who are willing to learn to be selfless. Doesn’t Jesus know that humans don’t work like that? Why is Jesus selling a dream?

6 Read Revelation 3:18

The difficulty in experiencing what Jesus has taught here is that everyone has a reason to look out for themselves first. If anything, the culture we are surrounded by subtlety conveys that being distrustful and guarded is the healthy way to navigate life. The problem with that mindset is that it doesn’t allow the follower of Jesus to have fun, and be present the way a child does almost naturally. A family of children wouldn’t be perfect but it would squeeze every bit of enjoyment out of life without the pretenses we gain as adults

7 Read Matthew 18:5 ; Revelation 14:1

Children love being around children. When I go somewhere with my son, a common question he asks is “are there going to be other kids there?” Kids are often gifted with quickly welcoming other kids to join whatever they are doing. Jesus says that if you welcome the childlike ones you have welcomed Him. Maybe the family of God would benefit from not being so grown-up. Instead, by learning from our children we may be able to become The Greatest Family.


Rashad Burden is the senior pastor of the 31st Street Church in San Diego California.

This article is part of our 2021 September / October  Issue
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“Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing”.

John 9:1-7, (NKJV)


Seeing by Choice

A Reflection

On Seeing: Why Some Do, and Some Don’t

From Ellen G, White’s The Desire of Ages, “The Light of Life,” p. 474, and 475.

For the first time the blind man looked upon the face of his Restorer. Before the council he had seen his parents troubled and perplexed; he had looked upon the frowning faces of the rabbis; now his eyes rested upon the loving, peaceful countenance of Jesus. Already, at great cost to himself, he had acknowledged Him as a delegate of divine power; now a higher revelation was granted him.

To the Saviour’s question, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” the blind man replied by asking, “Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?” And Jesus said, “Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee.” The man cast himself at the Saviour’s feet in worship. Not only had his natural sight been restored, but the eyes of his understanding had been opened. Christ had been revealed to his soul, and he received Him as the Sent of God.

A group of Pharisees had gathered near, and the sight of them brought to the mind of Jesus the contrast ever manifest in the effect of His words and works. He said, “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” Christ had come to open the blind eyes, to give light to them that sit in darkness. He had declared Himself to be the light of the world, and the miracle just performed was in attestation of His mission. The people who beheld the Saviour at His advent were favored with a fuller manifestation of the divine presence than the world had ever enjoyed before. The knowledge of God was revealed more perfectly. But in this very revelation, judgment was passing upon men. Their character was tested, their destiny determined.

The manifestation of divine power that had given to the blind man both natural and spiritual sight had left the Pharisees in yet deeper darkness. Some of His hearers, feeling that Christ’s words applied to them, inquired, “Are we blind also?” Jesus answered, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin.” If God had made it impossible for you to see the truth, your ignorance would involve no guilt. “But now ye say, “‘We see,’” you believe yourselves able to see, and reject the means through which alone you could receive sight. To all who realized their need, Christ came with infinite help. But the Pharisees would confess no need; they refused to come to Christ, and hence they were left in blindness,—a blindness for which they were themselves guilty. Jesus said, “Your sin remaineth.”


This article is part of our 2021 September / October  Issue
Subscribe –>


ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.


*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at

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