“But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” (Luke 22:26)
Christ’s disciples had been arguing about which one of them was the greatest. For years I have read this and thought, “For real? Were those guys really that immature and selfish?”
I think I have failed to realize that the writer is clearly cutting to the heart of the matter. The actual events probably looked a lot more “respectful” than it sounds. The disciples were probably not saying something like, “I am more awesome than you are. You guys are so lame. I really have no idea what Jesus ever saw in you.”
No, it was probably more like a big discussion about what “ought” to be going on in the ministry. It probably had the look of true concern for the nation or team. Maybe it went like this:
Judas: “I don’t quite understand why Jesus has not named His cabinet yet. The crowds are talking more and more about making Him King. He needs to start giving some serious thought about the future.”
Peter: “I totally agree. I think it’s obvious who He is intending for second in command. It was my boat that He got in at the beginning. Remember? And weren’t we all there when He called me ‘the rock’ and said that on me He would build His church? You do remember, right?”
Matthew: “You guys don’t see it, do you? You are solid fisherman but on this subject you are way out of your depth. This is not some small fishing business that we are about to be in the middle of. This is the restoration of a nation, of a sovereign kingdom. We are talking huge economy. I am the only guy with any experience in large-scale finance, commerce, and taxation.”
Peter: “You’ve got to be kidding, Matthew. You used to work for the oppressors! I am amazed that you are still in denial. I mean, you do have experience and all, but let’s face it, your reputation is stained by your past cooperation with the Romans. Don’t you get it? The Jews will never trust you in such a position.”
This is much more likely the way the conversations went! Pride is often a sneaky thing. Looks a lot like what we see everyday in the political news.
And Luke (by the inspiration of the Spirit) simply summarizes it as, “They were arguing about who was the greatest among them.”
The reason I push this issue is that human nature has not changed. It might not be obvious to us in the moment, but pride is still a terrible poison in our own hearts and leadership.
In the next few posts I am going to summarize some of the clear symptoms of pride in our lives and leadership. The goal is not to make any of us feel bad. Rather, the goal is to help us recognize some issues that hinder our testimony and effectiveness – to the end that we will all grow in God’s active support and favor! Remember:
“For God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5)