The options for the adjective include:
- Massive; weighty; large; spacious. Some of us are already great in this regard.
- Measure; height. I am not a great man in that regard, either. I look up to my youngest son (which is quite bothersome).
- Stature and Age. I grow greater every year!
- Number, quantity. I don’t see how I can be a great man unless I clone, which is highly unlikely.
- Intensity. While often violent, aggressive men are great, this is not ideal.
I am not convinced these nuances were what our Lord had in mind.
What about rank?
- Of persons, one may be great by virtue of position (my boss is a great man)
- Of things, one may be of great importance (gas is great for my car) or highly esteemed, or excellent (which my car is not).
- A person or thing may be great in terms of stateliness, or scale, such as a mountain.
Not quite there. There is one final category that relates to God’s blessing:
- On one hand, there is a kind of greatness that oversteps boundaries, being full of arrogance and derogatory such as Hitler, who may be considered to be “great.”
- On the other hand, there is the one who receives the blessing of God.
Ah. There it is. This is the great man described in Matthew 20 and chapter 5. The great man is the one who is blessed, receiving the direct approval of God as he walks in obedience.