“Who Is the Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Matthew 18:1–4

1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Elder Marlin K. Jensen said:

“. . . [T]he Savior has given us a model for developing humility. When His disciples approached Him and inquired, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He responded by placing a little child in their midst and stating, ‘Whosoever . . . shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven’ [Matt. 18:1–4].

“In this passage the Savior teaches us that to become humble is to become as a child. How does a person become as a child, and what are the childlike qualities we ought to develop? King Benjamin, in his profound Book of Mormon sermon, provides guidance:

“‘For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father’ [Mosiah 3:19].

“King Benjamin seems to teach that becoming like a child is a gradual process of spiritual development in which we are aided by the Holy Ghost and our reliance on Christ’s Atonement. Through this process, we will eventually acquire the childlike attributes of meekness, humility, patience, love, and spiritual submissiveness. True humility will inevitably lead us to say to God, ‘Thy will be done.’ And because what we are does affect what we do, our submissiveness will be reflected in our reverence, gratitude, and willingness to accept callings, counsel, and correction.”

(“To Walk Humbly with Thy God,” Ensign, May 2001, 10.)

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