Part 1 in a 7 part series. View series intro and index.
A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 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.
“You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
This weekend, John Piper announced he is taking an eight month leave of absence starting May 1. The main reason for this, he said is pride: “I see several species of pride in my soul that, while they may not rise to the level of disqualifying me for ministry, grieve me, and have taken a toll on my relationship with Noël and others who are dear to me.”
That really humbled me. It convicted me. I set that alongside this passage from the Gospel of Luke, and my own pride rushed to the surface. And you know what? It’s ugly. Jesus said, “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” Do I do that? Am I that? Most days, I am not. I crave applause and recognition. I want people to know my name and face. I want people to read my blog and visit my Twitter. I want people to be impressed with what I know or how I present myself. I want people to like me. But, it’s not just addiction to acceptance, as psychologists might put it. Most fundamentally, it’s idolatry. I idolize myself instead of worship God.
Jesus ends the disciples’ dispute in our passage by saying that the Father has given him a kingdom, and Jesus is giving that kingdom to his disciples so they may “eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.” Jesus is bringing them in, not so that they can be the king, but so that they can be a part of Jesus’ kingdom. We, by grace, get to be participants. It’s all about Jesus. Not me.
Father in Heaven, forgive me. Help me be humble. Pride is a damning thing, and if I want to be great, I need to be the least. Let me be a servant in your kingdom; help me be like you.