They forgot about the God that Jesus loved and served
This is a continuation of the interpretation of Jesus' teachings as brought forward from the Councils of Nicea, during which Jesus became confused with the Supreme Being, and the Supreme Being Himself was all but left out of the teachings of many sectarian institutions.
They made Jesus out to be the Supreme Being and thus forgot the real Supreme Being.
They left out the very Supreme Being Jesus wanted us to focus upon, come to know, love and serve.
They left out the very Supreme Being who sent Jesus.
We see the evidence of this in the most critical part of this statement:
"whoever welcomes me welcomes the One who sent me"
This is the crux of this statement. Jesus is referring to the "One who sent me" as the foundation for the meaning of this statement.
But Jesus is referring to himself here: Not an imaginary Jesus. If someone thinks they are speaking of Jesus or doing something in the name of Jesus and they are not including his relationship with the Supreme Being, their reference to Jesus is imaginary.
Jesus confirmed this when he said:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’" (Matt. 7:21-23)"I never knew you," Jesus states here. Even though they might be calling Jesus "Lord, Lord" as stated here by Jesus. Even though they may be performing many miracles such as healing the sick in Jesus' name. Even though they may be prophesizing in Jesus' name. Even though they may be driving out demons in Jesus' name.
Even though they are calling Jesus "Lord, Lord" and doing all these things in Jesus' name ("in your name") - as sectarian institutions and their teachers are doing today - Jesus is stating that he "never knew you."
Why would Jesus deny these people? He states it clearly:
"only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven"
Just as "whoever welcomes me welcomes the One who sent me" is the crux of Jesus' statement here in Luke 9:48, "only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" is the crux of this statement.
Why? Because loving and serving the Supreme Being was the focus of Jesus' life. He refers to "the One who sent me" as his foundation because he loves the Supreme Being and is doing the will of the Supreme Being.
This means that Jesus is serving God. He is God's servant. And God's representative.
Let's use an example. Let's say that a candidate for office hires a press secretary and the press secretary comes out before the press to announce that the candidate is going to run in the next election, and he will be seeking votes.
But instead of the press and the public focusing their attention on the candidate - investigating his qualifications and so on - they hone in on the press secretary, and completely forget the candidate!
And then after awhile of this, they begin to call the press secretary the candidate! Say this goes on to the point where the press secretary has to say something to the effect of, "if you won't focus your attention on the candidate then I want nothing to do with you." Why would he say that? Because his mission is to speak for the candidate. He is a messenger for the candidate. To then confuse him with the candidate completely messes up his purpose and mission. The press will be investigating the press secretary's qualifications instead of the candidates. They will screw up the election.
This is precisely what has happened in ecclesiastical sectarianism. Sectarian institutions and their teachers say that Jesus is "God became man" - as if God ever becomes a man.
God is always God.
This misunderstanding has created all sorts of misinterpretations about Jesus' teachings, and the teachings of the Prophets.
For one, it has caused people to examine Jesus' life with incorrect assumptions. For example, thinking that God had to come down to the physical world and suffer for people's sins - as though God has to come under the rules of sacrifice: This is offensive to the Supreme Being.
God never has to sacrifice Himself to purify the sins of people. He can purify our sins with a simple thought.
And God does not need to come down to the earth and try to prove that He is God by doing healings and other miracles. God never has to prove Himself.
As they attempt to answer these questions, sectarian institutions like to state that there is a trilogy - God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
And yes, if one is defining "God" as coming from the spiritual realm, then yes, all three can be God, as Jesus was sent from the spiritual realm.
But sectarian institutions ignore the separate and personal existence of the Father by conjuring God as some kind of vague force - who "becomes man" in Jesus. This completely misses the focus and mission of Jesus' teachings.
The only way someone can do the "will" of someone else is if that someone else is a person. The only way a person can be sent by someone else is if that sender is a person.
A vague force cannot have a will.
And a vague force cannot send people.
Yet Jesus is clearly stating that God sent him. He is also clearly stating that we need to do God's will.
This means that God is a Person. He has a will. And He can send people.
Jesus also states:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind" (Luke 10:27)We can only love a person. We cannot love a vague force. Love requires first coming to know that person. This requires the person has to be knowable. And loveable.
This is what Jesus is trying to teach. He is teaching that God is knowable. He is teaching that God is loveable. He is teaching that we can please God by doing his will.
And once we understand this, we can now more thoroughly understand Jesus' statement in Luke 9:48.
Jesus is responding to a squabble that broke out between some of his disciples:
An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. (Luke 9:46)Then:
Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. (Luke 9:47)Why did Jesus take hold of a child? Because children have no position in society. They are lacking prominence among people. Especially during that time, elders were respected as they were experienced. The squabble about being "the greatest" was about being respected by others. Children are typically not respected in that way because people assume that children have little if any experience in matters of life.
So Jesus took hold of a child and used that child to discuss respect.
Within the context of Jesus' statement, "welcomes" is a poor translation for the Greek word δέχομαι (dechomai) - which has also been translated to "receives" in other translations. According to the lexicon, the word also means "to receive favourably, give ear to, embrace, make one's own, approve, not to reject."
Jesus is referring to respect
Jesus is talking about the approval of others. He is talking about being respected.
Otherwise, this statement by Jesus - following his disciples squabbling about who would be the greatest - would have little meaning. Thus a better translation, according to the Gospels of Jesus, is:
““Whoever will respect this child for my sake respects me. And whoever respects me will respect Him who sent me"This clarifies that Jesus is relating directly to what Jesus' disciples are looking for: respect. They want others to respect them. Each wants to be known as the greatest disciple.
Most people are seeking the respect of others
Does this remind us of anything? Yes, most certainly. This is what is going on all around us. Each of us is vying for the respect of others. We want to be seen as the "greatest" in something. Whether it is our job, our hobby, or even being a parent, we want others to respect and admire us. (Evidenced by the popularity of "Greatest Dad" mugs.)
And some will proclaim that "I am the greatest" in their particular hobby, sport or profession. This is a huge fixation for those of us within the physical world. Why?
In fact, this is why we are here in the physical world in the first place. We became envious of the Supreme Being. We decided not to love and serve God and decided we wanted to enjoy ourselves. This spawned our envy of God, because of course, God is the greatest. And God is the enjoyer. And we wanted those positions.
And this is why God sent us away from the spiritual realm into the physical world. He designed this world and we took on these physical bodies in order to enable our escape from Him. Here we get to pretend we are the center of the universe. Here we get to struggle with all the other "I am the greatest" people for positions of authority and power.
Yet this is also a place of rehabilitation. The reason why we cannot hold onto our positions of authority is because they are facades. They are mirages. We think we are so respected but others just want to take our place. We think we are in a position of authority but it gets taken away within a few years when we are replaced by a younger "I am the greatest" seeker.
We are servants by nature
This is all meant to teach us that we aren't the greatest. We are, in fact, servants by nature. The Supreme Being created us as His loving servants. He created us to love Him and please Him.
But in order to truly love Him, He had to give us the choice to love Him or not. And those of us here in this rehab center - the physical world - are here because we chose not to love the Supreme Being.
You see, God does not force Himself upon anyone. He does not need us. If we don't want to love Him, He will disappear from our perception. This is why these physical eyes aren't designed to see Him. These physical bodies allow us to ignore God's existence. They allow us to pretend that we are "the greatest" for a while.
But notice that being "the greatest" doesn't satisfy us. It doesn't fulfill us. This is evidenced the richest, most famous and most powerful people in the world, who remain unhappy and unfulfilled. The reason is that we simply are not "the greatest" by nature. We are servants by nature. We are loving servants, and we are happiest when we give and when we serve.
And God knows that we will only be happy when we are in our natural position of loving and serving Him. This is why He sent Jesus: To teach us that.
This is why Jesus says:
"For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”Being "the least among you" means feeling oneself as the least important. It is only accomplished by seeing the Supreme Being as the greatest, and seeing others as greater than myself.
It is only accomplished by seeing the Supreme Being as the greatest because otherwise we simply fall into the trap of feeling that we are so great because we are so humble - a trap that many fall into.
The only way out of this trap is reality. The reality is that only God is the greatest. And when we see His position with respect to ours, we gain true humility. There is no pretending to be humble when we perceive God's greatness. There is no act. It is reality.
And once we see the reality of how great God is, we see how insignificant we are, and how fallen we have become. We begin to see our true selves: Our self-centered selves, looking for respect and admiration because we think, I am so great.