In the Gospels, Jesus’ self-awareness and self-claims saturate everything he says. Sometimes his claims are grand and “in your face” (e.g. – “I am the resurrection and the life”). And sometimes they are much more subtle and glow, such as in this instance.
Recognizing the chiastic structure of this tender, well-known text helps us grasp more of what Jesus is saying and doing (i.e. – he is the greatest among them).