Tuesday 26th March
Luke 22:24-30 (John 13:1-11)
“Who is greater? He who sits at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the who sits at the table?”
This passage really struck me this week. As is common around this time of the year, we tend to read the accounts of Jesus’ last days in the gospels. The interesting thing is that when you read them there is always something new you learn. The passage we are looking at today really stood out as being the essence of Jesus’ mission of earth. Let’s explore this timeless story and see what new thing God will do in us.
So we reach the climax of Jesus last days on this earth as a human. It’s Passover time and Jesus instructs the disciples to prepare a room for them to observe it. After they have taken the Passover Jesus, in all three of the synoptic gospels accounts of these events, tells the disciples that one will betray Him, and tells Peter that he will deny Him. In John’s account, Jesus washes the disciple’s feet. Interesting that all the accounts of this monumental ‘last supper’ are almost written in the same order of events as mentioned above.
Luke then adds this passage from verse 24, of the disciples arguing about who is the greatest. This section may or may not have come after Jesus washes His disciple’s feet but the fact of the matter is this, they simply did not get the idea of humility and serving one another. Here is Jesus, the very person who stood at the creation of the world, humbled in the form of a human being, instituting the Passover as a representation of His imminent sacrifice for all mankind, mankind that He created, and yet here we have the disciples arguing about who is the greatest among them. I can imagine if I were Jesus, getting absolutely frustrated, knowing I am just about to give me life as a ransom for many and the very people who were supposed to understand and encourage me are the very people who are arguing about greatness amongst themselves.
But let’s thank God that I am not Jesus. His response was a response that only He could give. In true ‘Jesus-like’ fashion, He explains the truth of humility with a question. After explaining that those who have authority should serve the least, Jesus asks a question. “Who is greater? He who sits at the table or the one who serves?” Obviously the one who sits at the table and is being served. Yet Jesus Himself, the greatest of all is pictured here serving His disciples. He not only washes their feet as a sign of humility but also soon will give His life for many in the ultimate act of serving mankind. In fact during that meal, Jesus even knows that one of the disciples will betray Him and one will deny Him. Yet still, He has the grace to say that He came to serve and not to be served. Not only that but He invites them all to be dine with Him at His table in Heaven as a prophetic statement of acceptance and restitution (especially to Peter).
What grace, what humility and what acceptance of sinful people. Jesus came to serve and give His life for all mankind, to empty Himself and take on the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7) and set an example to us. Are you living a servant-hearted life?