Who is the Greatest? Luke 22:7-30
Praying over the City in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
December 23, 2018
Today I’m writing from my home office neatly tucked into the sunroom. There’s a lot going on and crammed in this small space. In fact, that daybed was where I slept last night. When the kids are home, I give up my room to them and curl up out here. I love it. Truly. It’s like camping in the city—warm, cushy camping.
This Christmas season, my Bible reading has not brought me to the beginning of Jesus’ life, but instead to the end. I’m reading through the last few chapters of Luke and honestly, looking forward to moving on to John for several reasons. First, John is my favorite book of the Gospels, but also because it’s hard to read about Jesus’ crucifixion AND this is my third time through it in just the last few months because I journeyed though Matthew and Mark already. This read through, however, offered me a new revelation as God’s word so often does.
In Luke 22, verse 7, begins the story of the Last Supper. At around verse 21, Jesus tells the disciples that one among them will betray him. At Luke 22:23, it states that the disciples began to question who might do such a horrible thing to Jesus. I’m sure they were taken aback. Many believing they were all in on being a true follower and who among them would do such a dastardly deed.
Then immediately at verse 24, the very next point in the text, now the disciples were debating who among them was the greatest. What? The conversation goes from care and concern for their leader, the blessed among men, to concern about self as to who is the greatest?
Isn’t that the way it is with us? I know it is for me. I’ll be concerned for another—feeling generous, compassion, or empathy, and then BAM—I’m stuck in self. The thoughts might be, “What did they ever do for me?” Or maybe, “I am always the one doing for others. What about me?” Or this tried and true one, “I deserve better treatment than this.”
Oh man, I could go on and on with the crazy little stories my mind goes through when I start to get stuck on “self”. Someone once said, I’m unsure if this was her own revelation or if she heard it somewhere, “There are only two states of being. Spiritual (connected to God) or ego, and I cannot be in both at the same time.” How powerful is that? And how very true it is. When I am stuck in “self”, I am not honoring God and I am not being of maximum use to those around me.
Please do not misunderstand. We need to do things to protect ourselves and sometimes that might seem selfish. Certainly, those around us with toxic behaviors and personalities can wield selfishness as a weapon to try to manipulate us into doing their will. This is most certainly why we should remain connected to God to seek His will. Sometimes that will be to create distance to others. Sometimes it is to intervene and to help when most others have abandoned that person. God’s economy is counterintuitive to the world, so we must, in all things, seek our direction from Him.
In fact, in the latter verses, that is basically what Jesus tells the disciples. That the greatest among them is the least. That they should serve others, as they have seen Jesus do. That the world may seek leaders, but the Kingdom of God elevates the lowly. If they want to be great, they must sacrifice as Jesus did. (Luke 22:25-30).
Dearest Heavenly Father (Mother), it is so hard to put away self and truly consider others around me. Doing right by you and them is difficult. Sometimes I think my needs won’t get met if I give too much. May I forever be reliant on you. Your mercy. Your strength. Your goodness. Your love. I only get one shot at truly making a difference for you in this world, Lord. Please help me make it count by staying out of self and staying focused on you.
Christmas is coming with a whole host of other Holy Seasons. I’m praying you will be merry and blessed now and into the new year. If you have any other prayer requests, please bring them forward. You are loved.