Luke 22:24-30 – Who is the Greatest
24 A dispute also 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.
Reading the perspective from Luke brings in a whole different view of the story. Based on the Gospel of John, we see Jesus getting up from the meal to wash the feet of the disciples. So we know, that the meal already started before Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, and not before (John 13:2). One can speculate that the argument among the disciples about who was the greatest prompted Jesus to get up and do the act of service.
Just take a moment and re-read the passage above from the gospel of Luke and then read what John wrote as a continuation of the story from the Last Supper.
3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.John 13:3-17
Jesus is conferring on the disciples God’s kingdom here on earth, which is continuing through us. We are part of God’s kingdom on earth until Jesus comes again. Though, the kingdom will not be based on ruling, but on serving others and to do so through love.
Jesus used an argument among the disciples to teach them how to serve and then showed it through His actions. We should do the same. Let the oldest act like the youngest and one who rules like the one who serves.