The Greatest of Them All

Mar 03, 2009 06:57 AM EST


Author: Sam Tsang, Dr., Overseas Theological Seminary, San Jose

24 Also a dispute 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. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:24-30, NIV)

Luke 22.24-30 falls within the Last Supper narrative as Jesus prepares to head to the cross. These are literally some of the last words taught by Jesus before His Passion. They are also important words to think about for the Lenten season.

Jesus first starts with a negative model in verse 25. He mentions the system which the Romans set up where benefactors receive honor for exercising authority over their subjects. In such a system, free grace and servitude are not high priorities. Jesus then goes into positive models in the remaining verses in order to show the significance of His kingdom system. The two points he mentions also corresponds to His present suffering and future glory. First, He first talks about the kingdom as a reversal from a worldly of dictatorship to service in verses 26-27. Second, He talks about the eschatological significance of the disciples’ authority. What then is Jesus saying? He is essentially saying that serving in this life prepares for authority in the next. If the Son of Man will serve in this life, so should His disciples. If the Son of Man receives authority in the eschaton, so will His followers. Every communion then should be a reminder of such kingdom values. In this Lenten season, we may want to think about how our daily walk is a lesson to serve. In so doing, we should remain alert as to what serving opportunities are available even if we live outside of church because our lives here and in the future both reflect the life of Christ. Prayer for the day: Lord, show me the serving opportunity right where I am. Help me to take the opportunity to serve.


The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu. This devotional was written by Asian American English ministry leaders and pastors in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To purchase, click here: Road of Suffering, Road to Glory: A Lenten Adventure with the Savior