READ Luke 22:17-30
The table has been set and the meal has been passed. The Passover – the day reserved to remember when death passed by the people of God – has been faithfully observed.
But, what’s more, Jesus has just told His disciples that the Supper is about more than looking back; it’s about looking forward. Unfolding God’s promise to send a Lamb without blemish as the ultimate sacrifice for their sins, Jesus tells His friends that He will give His life for them. Very soon, Jesus’ body will be broken and His blood poured out so that death might pass over all who bear His name.
A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.
The disciples do not understand. Jesus points to the coming Kingdom of God and they start wondering about their own place in that Kingdom; Jesus tells them that His death is near, and they start speculating about who will take His place as the leader of group. They have missed the point entirely.
And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
Jesus turns every one of the disciples’ expectations on its head. Though the disciples know leaders who lord their authority over those under them, it is not to be so in the Kingdom of God. Where they would suppose the oldest in the group to be the leader, the youngest should be considered. Where most assume the person sitting at the table holds the power in the room, the servant is to be esteemed as greater. The way of the Kingdom is upside-down from everything this world offers them.
In no place is this seen more clearly than at this Passover meal! Jesus, the King of all creation, will have His body broken. Jesus, the King of all kings, will pour out His blood. Jesus, the true King of the Jews, will be the slaughtered Lamb of the Passover. God did not come to this earth as an emperor, ruler, or supreme power, but as a servant who washed His disciples’ feet.
The way of this world is not the way of the Kingdom. Thanks be to God!
Thank God that He was among us as one who serves. Thank Him for inviting you to learn the way of the Kingdom, and ask Him to help you, by His Spirit, to serve as He did.