I originally posted this back in 2009, but I needed to read it again tonight…funny how that works. So I thought I would post again…
I was reading Luke last night, and what I had intended the focus on was the account of the crucifixion–instead, I stopped at this passage, right toward the end of the depiction of the Last Supper. It caught my eye, and I was once again reminded that God knows me infinitely better than I know myself. In short, this is what I needed to read. Check it out–so much wisdom:
“24Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26But you are not to be like that (emphasis added). Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table?”
What is Jesus saying here? Why doesn’t he just…I don’t know…say what he means?
What I was thinking is that He seems to be saying that while it’s lesser to be a servant, in the end it’s…greater to be less? Meanwhile, the disciples are more concerned with simply being greater, and arguing over who gets to sit at the right hand. It makes me wonder a little why he tests them, and forces them to figure things out on their own. I suppose I just answered that. The disciples don’t call Him teacher for nothing.
So, then. Is it better to be greater than a servant? Or lesser than a master? I thought we were supposed to strive for a servant’s heart? Which, to be honest, I am not the best at–even though I would rather serve than lead. Yes, I am a walking contradiction!
Here Jesus continues:
“But I am among you as one who serves (emphasis added). 28You are those who have stood by me in my trials…”
So far, anyway. Though that is soon to change. Still, the following passage speaks to the rewards God has in store for the disciples–and for us–for good and faithful service:
“9And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
He confers a a kingdom on me? Why? I think about eating and drinking at a table with Jesus and I am amazed. I think again of my unworthiness, of my many transgressions, and sins. Yet Jesus sees none of those things. He only sees me, lurching toward him like Frankenstein’s monster, with my arms outstretched. And He welcomes me…
“31 Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
The way I read this is that when Simon–Peter–has turned back from his sin, turned back from his willfullness and misdirected pride, when he has truly repented and cast the darkness of his heart into light, then he will not only be able to, but be expected to, strengthen his brothers.
And he confers on us a kingdom. It’s our responsibility to further the Kingdom. We, left to our own devices, can’t change lives or hearts. But we can tell them about the king. We can share his glory, and his love. I’m not so sure about Judging the 12 tribes of Israel, but I trust God to make that passage clearer to me when the time comes.
to be continued….