Luke 22: 24-27
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 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. 27 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.
We often think of the good life as good enough. But what if our understanding of a good life really meant something greater? What if, as followers of Jesus, we were meant to strive for greater instead of settling for good enough?
But what does it mean to be greater? Though the culture in America would tell us it means more stuff, more success, accumulation of wealth, power, and fame, Jesus teaches us that a greater life is a life of giving ourselves away. In this passage from Luke, about the last supper, Jesus was teaching his disciples about his impending death and life after his resurrection. He taught the disciples they were not to be like the perceived “great” leaders of the world, rather they were to be like Jesus, who came to serve not to be served. He was clearly contrasting leadership in the world with leadership in the kingdom. In the world, leadership involves the exercise of authority—leaders “lord it over” others. In the ancient world when men exercised such power, the people were to publicly recognize their authority and call them “benefactors.” And benefactors had clients who were to appreciate their lower position. Glory and honor were reserved exclusively for the leader.
In contrast, greatness in the kingdom would involve youthful deference to others as if they were elders. The greatest among the disciples will be the one who is like the youngest and like the one who serves. Jesus directed us to follow his example, not that of the culture. The offering of his life for them is service. He taught them in service. He did not come as a ruling, authoritarian king, but rather as a humble servant. Greatness is defined not by position nor resume, but by one's attitude and service.
This week we will look at how we can leave “good enough” and move towards “greater.” Specifically, we will consider ways to be a Jesus-like influence on those around us, so we may have a greater impact on the world, one person at a time.
Dear Lord, you came as a humble servant, and you call us to follow your life and example. Show me how to listen to your voice, not the voice of culture. Guide me past settling for “good enough,” and into the greater life you call me to. Give me humility, courage and grace in this journey. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.