A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest,and the one who rules like the one who serves. For 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? But I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:24-27
If you’re familiar with the Gospels, you may remember that this night is not the first time the disciples have argued about who is the greatest. It’s happened before in their travels, yet here they are again, arguing.
We don’t necessarily argue with our friends about who is the greatest for God, but our culture certainly glorifies those we see as “great.” Everyone seems to be pursuing their 15 minutes of fame on social media. Athletes like Tom Brady and LeBron James – who are genuinely very, very good at their craft- are labeled the GOAT: “Greatest Of All Time.” Even in the church we are quick to elevate those we see as great, whether they are a preacher, singer, or the leader of a well-known church.
In this pursuit of greatness, whether for ourselves or in those we follow, we often forget that Jesus, the greatest of all, God in the flesh, became a servant and asks us to become one too. John’s Gospel tells us that during this very dinner with his friends, he humbled himself and washed their feet (John 13:4-17). The Apostle Paul reminds us that not only did Jesus humble himself and become obedient to death, we are supposed to be like him (Philippians 2:1-11)!
Where do you see God giving you an opportunity to serve others instead of striving for recognition? Try taking him up on that opportunity, but don’t seek praise or acknowledgement for doing so. Did you find it easy or difficult? What did it teach you about Jesus’ character to serve in this way?
By Jessica Rust