The Bottom Half Of The Class (Luke 9:46-48)

The heated discussion ignited the lecture hall. The topic was medical malpractice and the policing of physicians by their own medical societies. Several attorneys were in attendance and one of them addressed the audience.


“I am here to tell you that 50% of all physicians graduate in the bottom half of their medical school class!”


That generated a few snickers. It is an amusing if somewhat muddled fact that not only physicians, but all students, regardless of their setting and institution, do indeed graduate in the bottom half of their class. For physicians, the reality is all must successfully pass a rigorous series of national examinations to be qualified and licensed to practice medicine. Thus, at graduation, it does not matter what a physician’s class ranking is, all licensed physicians are initially qualified to practice medicine. But in this hypercompetitive world in which we live, if a physician announced they graduated in the bottom half of their class, a casual listener may draw the conclusion that they were not dealing with a capable or competent healthcare professional. Even if it were true, I doubt any physician would disclose this information. On the other hand, if a physician did graduate at the top of their class, such a fact is often trumpeted on their marketing and advertising material to their patients and colleagues. Physicians, like many professionals and lay people, seek to distinguish themselves from their peers.


An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

Luke 9:46-48 (ESV)


Even Jesus’ disciples were not immune from jockeying for positions of leadership. It is insightful that Jesus’ answer did not focus upon their accomplishments nor did He chastise His disciples for raising the question. Instead He focused upon their motives, why were they seeking to be great? By using the example of a child, Jesus demonstrated that it is not accomplishments but a desire to serve and be submissive to God’s will that determines one’s true greatness.


Jesus turns our worldly expectations upside down by focusing upon our motives. Bottom or top half of the class-when Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, all that matters is that we are in His class!




Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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