A retelling of a Bible story by my wife:
Let me tell you a story that was once told to me. (**see below)
It’s a great tale, but just one among many, so the tellers didn’t embellish their stories with finer details. However I will, and I will reimagine some colours and shades. I believe this is permissible as long as the listeners are open to God’s message in the story.
“The Rabbi’s disciples were walking towards Capernaum with their Messiah. The road was dusty, the sun was hot, and their tempers were fraying. Jesus walked a little way ahead of them and their argument.
Soon they arrived at the house of some friends and were eagerly welcomed and ushered through the house to the shady courtyard beyond. A servant girl came with tall beakers full of cold wine.
Slowly the heat drained from the faces of the guests as they relaxed after the long walk.
“So,” Jesus asked them, “what were you arguing about on the road?”
Before they could answer a ball skittered across the courtyard, rolled under the table and between the legs of the disciples, and was followed by a bevy of little boys. Mayhem ensued while the ball, the legs, and the children battled together.
And then peace again, as the boys skipped back to the lane with their prize.
“The argument?” Jesus reminded them.
But no one wanted to say. They squirmed in their seats, they blushed.
Finally one of them spoke. “We were discussing who of us is the greatest.”
It sounded so lame now, when it was spoken out loud to the Rabbi. Not an hour ago they had been in hot contention, firing Scripture missiles at each other, cutting one another down to size, tearing at each other’s egos. It had been as if their place in Eternity mattered on who was crowned greatest of all.
Jesus let the disciple’s words hang in the air for a moment. Then he called out to one of the boys.
“Here, come here son.” The lad came over.
Jesus beckoned to the servant girl. “Please bring the boy a drink.”
She went away and returned with a beaker of lemonade. She handed it to the boy who took it in his dusty hands. Then she gave him a straw.
Immediately he began slurping noisily.
“I tell you, unless you become like a little child, you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. Unless you lower yourself to the position of the least, you will have no position in Eternity.”
“Really?” The disciples thought. “Were their ears deceiving them? What could Jesus be saying?”
But Jesus hadn’t finished the lesson.
“Whoever welcomes one of these little ones, welcomes me. But whoever rejects them, it would be better if that man were thrown into the sea with a lump of concrete around his neck!”
The boy looked up from his now-empty beaker. He smiled at Jesus as if they shared the best secret. He wiped the back of his hand across his mouth.
And then he belched.
**the original can be found in Matthew 18, Mark 9, and Luke 9