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The Greatest is Least is the story of how a man named Blastus tries to improve his standing with King Herod Agrippa by arranging a celebration with the neighbouring lands of Tyre and Sidon. Blastus is shocked to find out Agrippa is already determined he must become the supreme ruler and has decided to invade these countries. In addition to this, Agrippa has had many Christians arrested for their faith in Jesus and has had them put in prison.
“And He said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’”
– Matthew 18:3-4 (NIV)
In the years following the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the disciples learned to practice His teachings. It was during these years of ministry that Jesus taught the disciples that in order to be the greatest in Heaven, one must understand what it means to be the least on earth.
Blastus, King of Tyre, King of Sidon, James, Jeremiah, Gaius, King Agrippa, King Agrippa’s Counselor, Lysander, Vespi, John, Peter, Andrew, Jesus, and Marcus.
Acts 12:1-2, 20-23; Matthew 18:1-4, 17:20; Mark 9:33-36, 10:32-45; Luke 9:46-48, 51-56; 22:24-27; John 13:4-17, 33-35
In the years following Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples learn to practice His teachings. While working at the salt mines, James witnesses two fellow prisoners fighting to be number one. He remembers being with Jesus as He embraced the children and humbly kneeled to wash the disciples’ feet. Comparing the Savior’s humility to King Agrippa, we learn that the way to greatness in His Kingdom is not found in how many serve you, but how many you serve.
Want to know what meek service looks like?
It looks like Christ humbly kneeling towash the disciples’ feet. It looks like Jesus embracing the littlechildren. It looks like James helping a fellow prisoner.
King Agrippa’s chamberlain, Blastus, visits the Kings of Tyre and Sidon in Tyre. He bears bad news from King Agrippa – that he is upset with the two kings. King Agrippa does not feel they show him enough respect. The chamberlain explains that if they do not show proper respect to King Agrippa, there will be consequences. The Kings of Tyre and Sidon tell the chamberlain they will do anything to avoid trouble with King Agrippa.
James, one of Jesus’ disciples, is working in a field gathering stones to help Jeremiah build a well. Jeremiah tells James that, as an apostle, surely he must have more important things to do. James responds that there is nothing more important than helping each other. They marvel at their community of growing believers and how God has worked miracles.
In the meantime, King Agrippa’s chamberlain returns to his home. He summons his servant, Gaius, to wash his feet. He shares how the Kings of Tyre and Sidon have signed a proclamation that declares King Agrippa is the greatest of all kings. The chamberlain surmises that if King Agrippa is the greatest of all kings then he must be the greatest of all chamberlains.
The chamberlain goes to King Agrippa to tell him of the proclamation. However, King Agrippa is upset because he has a list of his subjects who have become Christians. The chamberlain is surprised as Jesus has been dead for 13 years. King Agrippa is angry because he believes no one’s power should be growing but his own. The chamberlain assures the king that he will take care of the problem. Before being ordered to leave, the chamberlain tries in earnest to share the news about the proclamation but to no avail. The king’s counselor interjects that the Christians are of no threat to the king. However, the king admonishes him.
In the meantime, James and Jeremiah reflect on Jesus’ words about the Samaritan woman at the well that those who drink “living water” will never thirst again. Just then, the king’s chamberlain arrives at the well and arrests James. Jeremiah tries to intervene, but James assures him that if they love one another, all will be well. The chamberlain goes to the king to tell him of the news of James’ arrest and that he is to work at the salt mines. However, King Agrippa wants him executed which the chamberlain agrees to arrange. The chamberlain seizes the opportunity to interject the news of the Kings of Tyre and Sidon’s proclamation and that they’ve come to throw the king a banquet. King Agrippa decides it will be an ideal opportunity to declare war on the two kings. His counselor advises that a great man helps those around him, not destroys them. The king admonishes the two men declaring that he will be the greatest of all kings.
Meanwhile at the salt mines, James is told to record the salt bags carried out of the mine. One of the guards, Lysander, informs the other guard, Vespi, that Marcus has been made a captain over 500 hundred soldiers. The two begin to argue over who should be his second in command. At that point, James begins to reflect on when the disciples were arguing over who should be first and second in command to Jesus. They ask Jesus which of the disciples should lead. Jesus explains that they must become humble as a child. James reflects on another time with Jesus when His disciples were turned away from a city where they had wanted Jesus to share the word of God. They asked Jesus if they should send fire from heaven and burn down the wicked city. Jesus explains how he had not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. After reflecting on Jesus’ words, James explains to the guard, Lysander, that to be a leader he must first serve soldiers in his command to earn their full heart. The guard laughs at James. James then reflects on yet another time with Jesus when he spoke to the disciples of his impending crucifixion and resurrection. The disciples were perplexed as they thought Jesus was going to Jerusalem to be crowned King. James and John again ask of Jesus if they will be first and second in command to His new Kingdom. Jesus explains that God’s Kingdom is not like worldly kingdoms. Jesus goes on to say, “Whoever desires to be the greatest in the Kingdom of God, let him be the least. Whoever wants to be known as a master, let him be a servant first.”
The story returns to King Agrippa admiring new riches bestowed upon him by the Kings of Tyre and Sidon. His chamberlain, Blastus, implores him not to wage war on the two kings and their countries as they are willing to lavish him with even more gifts. King Agrippa notes that he is a rising star – the greatest of all kings.
Back at the salt mines, Marcus appears and says he won’t be able to oversee the executions the next day as he will be taking his command. He also must decide upon a lieutenant immediately. The guards, Vespi and Lysander, vie for Marcus’s lieutenant position. Lysander gets the upper hand, demonstrating his strength by being forceful with the salt mine slaves.
James reminisces about the Last Supper with Jesus. Again, the disciples argue over who should sit next to Jesus. With no servants at hand and without a word, Jesus goes and picks up a bowl of water and cloth. He then kneels at Peter’s feet to wash them much to the amazement of the other disciples. He implores them to serve one another as He has served them. Jesus gives them a new commandment “that you love another, even as I have loved you.”
James’ attention is snapped back to the present where the guard, Vespi, angry over the idea of Lysander being Marcus’s second in command, determines he will show Marcus how he can make men work. He then proceeds to whip an elderly slave. James intercedes and offers to carry the sacks of salt and allow the elderly slave to take on the role of counting. Vespi does not understand why James would do it but allows him.
King Agrippa’s chamberlain updates him on the upcoming banquet in the king’s honor. He also informs him of James’ scheduled morning execution. King Agrippa is pleased with the news and enters the banquet hall for the great feast. He proclaims a future where the kingdoms of Israel, Tyre, and Sidon stand as friends and are led by King Agrippa. The crowd cheers and proclaims him to speak with the power of a god. Just then, King Agrippa grips at his chest and drops dead.
James is led away to his execution by Lysander who mocks and ridicules him. However, James is comforted that he will now be entering the Kingdom of Heaven.
Israelites ate the Passover meal and celebrated it the next day. It was Thursday evening Jesus ate the last Passover meal. We call it also the Last Supper. According to the Jewish custom, when the master comes home, the servant must bring the water and wash the feet of the master. Since there was no servant provided, the disciples did not bother to wash their own feet.
Jesus humbled himself and served them like their servant. Though He was the Son of God, He did not claim His right. Rather He gave up His right and humbled Himself to serve the disciples. He could have claimed His right at least for this last meal, but He not only gave up His right, but He also determined to serve them humbly. He took the form of a servant and began to wash their feet one by one.
As the Master and Teacher, Jesus showed, by washing the disciples’ feet, that humble serving is true loving, and all positions are meant to serve. Jesus’ act of humble serving is the foundation of all God’s work.
With The Greatest is the Least interactive Bible video, children will learn that the way to greatness in His Kingdom is not found in how many serve you. . .but in how many you serve.