Monday

“A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest.” (v. 24)

Luke 22:24-30 Monday 24 August 2015

Psalm: Psalm 145


Background

This is the second time Luke's Gospel records the disciples ofJesus as having an argument as to which of them should beconsidered the greatest. On the first occasion (Luke9:46-48), Jesus drew a small child to his side and used him asa visual aid - 'This is how you should be'. Note that, in thediscussion following the second argument, instead of the word'least' Jesus used the word "youngest" (v. 26). Was he remindingthem of this little child?

Amazingly, at this Last Supper, when everything was pointing toa showdown with the religious authorities (Luke22:2), the argument resurfaced. Perhaps the disciples werearguing about seating arrangements - who would take the places ofhonour beside the host? The closer a guest sat to their host, themore honoured they were considered to be. Luke's Gospel notesothers, including the teachers of the law, as being similarlycompetitive about seating arrangements (Luke14:7-10; 20:46).

Luke is the only Gospel writer to combine an account of the LastSupper with a report of the discourse during the supper. Matthewand Mark record only the Supper, while John heavily emphasises thediscourse.

Note how Jesus used the imagery of serving at the table and ofbanqueting while the disciples were actually sitting with him atthe table. The lesson is reinforced by the context in which it isbeing given.

Greatness is not about authority and getting a name as abenefactor. The Greek word for benefactor is 'euergetes' and thistitle was often conferred on a ruler. Jesus made the point that thetrue 'bene-factor' (one who does good) is the one whoserves. 

Note that Jesus had only just offered bread and wine from thetable to his friends; he had served them and he confirmed that hewas indeed among them precisely as one who serves. Howcounter-cultural can one get?


To Ponder

  • Reflect on a situation when you humbled yourself and did themenial thing when you might have expected someone else to do it.How did it feel?
  • How might a culture of serving be promoted in the church andcommunity?
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