The only honorific title recognized in heaven
In the liturgical assemblies, common meals, trips in caravan, public meetings, at every opportunity, the Jewish society discussed the issue on who would be the greatest, to whom greater honor belonged.
The blessed in heaven were involved in this race for the first places. They were caegorized into seven classes, led by the martyrs. It is the same with the God of Israel, who could not be outdone by eastern deities, Greek and Egyptian, to whom the title “great” was inevitably given. For this reason Solomon proclaimed: “Yahweh is greater than all the gods” (Ex 18:11) and Moses assured the Israelites: “Yahweh is the God of gods and the Lord of lords. He is the great God, the strong and terrible God” (Dt 10:17).
In the last centuries before Christ, the statements about the greatness of God had multiplied dramatically. He was “the most high God, the great” (Est 8:12q). “Lord, you are great and glorious, wonderful, strong, invincible” (Jdt 16:13) and he was expected, therefore, to manifest his greatness. We read on Christmas eve: “We await our blessed hope—the glorious manifestation of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus” (Tit 2:13).
And he appeared, in all his grandeur: a weak, poor, defenseless child “wrapped in swaddling clothes” by a sweet and caring mother of fourteen. It was just the beginning of his manifestation which culminated on the cross. From that day all the criteria of greatness have been turned upside down.
To internalize the message, we repeat
“Only the children are able to grasp the mysteries of the kingdom of God.”