Muhammad Ali, the colorful 1960 light-heavyweight Olympic boxing champion who went on to hold the world heavyweight title three times, is known to have uttered many a memorable remark during his time in the spotlight. His personal catch phrase “I am the greatest” came to serve as an identifier of the man, in that whoever voiced it, one knew that person was alluding to Ali.
In 1980, just before takeoff on an airplane flight from New York to Los Angeles, the Eastern Airlines stewardess reminded Ali, who was on his way to making a movie, to fasten his seatbelt. “Superman don’t need no seat belt,” replied Ali. “Superman don’t need no airplane either,” retorted the stewardess.
Reminds me of another story where the disciples are with Jesus and He overhears their discussion about who of them is the greatest. In light of their inability to heal the evil spirit possessed boy, they were hardly in the position to be talking about greatness. Moreover, they simply did not have enough experience and maturity to really understand what it means to be great in the kingdom of God. Jesus’ teaching had a lot to teach me about what greatness in the kingdom really means.
And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” – Mark 9:33-37 ESV