Lent Reflections @ CEC: Questions of Jesus
“So often we want Jesus to manage the effects of sin without actually addressing the root issue. But Jesus loves us too much to offer only a superficial solution. He knows the hidden sins of our hearts, and He lovingly insists on dealing with those first.” ― Asheritah Ciuciu
Scripture context: Luke 22:24-30
Then a dispute also arose among them about who should be considered the greatest. But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who have authority over them have themselves called ‘Benefactors.’ It is not to be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever is greatest among you should become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving. For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn’t it the one at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. You are those who stood by me in my trials. I bestow on you a kingdom, just as my Father bestowed one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom. And you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Question: For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn’t it the one at the table?
You may not have realized this about our family - but we’re short. My grandpa’s nickname was Shorty. Sometimes being short has its advantages. I can ride in an airplane in relative comfort, stretching out my legs underneath the seat in front of me. Not too many people can do that!
When our son Joe was playing basketball, he was great at stealing the ball from the other team. Why? Because he could go low. As taller guys were dribbling the ball, he could dart in low and grab the ball. His ability to go low gave him an advantage in stealing the ball.
In the passage today, we find the disciples arguing about several things.
Particularly, who was going to betray Jesus, which apparently then led to a dispute about which of them should be considered the greatest. Isn’t that just how it goes?
Who would Jesus consider the best - the most worthy, the greatest? Who was his favorite?
But the kingdom of God is always the antithesis of the kingdom of this world. We seek to go higher - Jesus tells us to go low. We want to be at the top. This isn’t the only time Jesus teaches in such a way. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus told a parable about humility. He said that when you’re invited to a wedding feast or banquet, go low. Head to the lowest place.
“But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when the one who invited you comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ You will then be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
It’s better to be asked to move up than to be asked to give up your seat and move lower.
Over and over again, Jesus wants us to know that even though in the world’s economy the one who sits at the table is the honored one, in His kingdom the one who chooses to serve is really the greatest, and God will be in charge of honoring His servants.
We can trust that our faithful God sees all, and that He brings honor to Himself as we serve Him. And that’s what we’re called as his followers to do: to seek His kingdom first, to seek His honor, and to seek to bring glory to Him in every aspect of our lives.
As we approach Easter, we can rest in knowing that the Exalted one is also the one who exalts us - not for our glory, but for His. As we humbly seek to serve Him, as we go low, He is the one who lifts us up. We are a testimony to the world of a God who redeems, rescues, and saves - and lifts up His people.
Humility and serving others seems to be in such short supply in our world today. May we love God, love people and be willing to serve in ways that bring glory to Jesus!