Friday 24 August 2018

Bible Book:

“You are those who have stood by me in my trials and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom...” (v. 28-29)

Luke 22:24-30 Friday 24 August 2018

Psalm: Psalm 145


Who was St Bartholomew? All that is known of him with certainty is that he is mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels and the book of Acts as one of the twelve apostles. His name means ‘son of Tolomai’ and scholars believe he is the same as Nathanael mentioned in John, who says he is from Cana and who Jesus called an "Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" (John 1:45-51)

We are left to wonder if Bartholomew joined in this rather unworthy debate the disciples had about who is the greatest among them. Jesus is trying to impress upon them the importance of this moment in all of their lives – where he shares his last supper and offers bread and wine as the ‘sacrament’ for remembering his coming sacrifice. All the disciples can do in response is to squabble about who is the greatest.

What the disciples are doing is what psychology calls ‘displacement activity’. They cannot bear to hear what Jesus is saying so they fill the space with childish chatter.

Jesus desperately wants them to see the point of what he is doing so he joins in their conversation and turns everything upside down. If they really do want to be great, as Jesus is great, they need to realise three things:

  • Jesus is among them as one who waits on tables and that this is central to who Jesus is. If his followers want to share in Jesus’ greatness they have to become as servants too. (v. 26-27)
  • Jesus is fulfilling the scriptural prophecies about the servant in Isaiah 40-55. This includes the chilling line, “he was numbered with the transgressors” (v. 12) If his followers want to share Jesus’ greatness they have to be prepared to run the risk of being treated like criminals.
  • Both of the above are possible for the disciples because just as the Father has given the kingdom to Jesus, so now Jesus is giving the kingdom to his disciples and all talk of greatness is unnecessary.

The disciples do not yet know what the kingdom is or how it is to come, but that does not matter, Jesus’ promise to them stands.

To Ponder

  • What does servanthood look like for you in your ministry with your community?
  • As you read verses 28-30, what meaning do Jesus’ words have for you and your church?
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