You are familiar with the last supper. You know of the drama in the garden of Gethsemane. You are grieved when Judas betrays his Lord and Christ is handed over for trial. But there is another story of Jesus’s last night that we don’t remember so easily. It is an embarrassing story about what our hearts are really like.
Just after the Lord’s Supper and just before Jesus goes to the garden to pray, there arose an ugly dispute between the disciples. I would like to say that if I had been there I would not have engaged in this display of pride. But I cannot. I, too, would have joined in the moment.
The story is found in Luke 22:24-27.
The disciples were trying to figure out who among them might betray Jesus, since he had just predicted that one of them would. Instead of standing with Christ or seeking God in prayer that the betrayer would repent, the disciples began to argue among themselves about who of them was the greatest!
This should not surprise us. I can imagine the dispute going something like this:
“Surely, I would not betray our Lord. I would never to do such a thing.”
Then another one replies, “Well, surely I care than you do. I am not a betrayer of our Lord. Everyone knows of my loyalty”
And yet another, “I have proven over and over that I am the most loyal amongst all of us.”
And so the ugly, pride-filled debate grew. Remember, these men had just participated in the Last Supper. They had seen the heart of their Lord as he washed their feet. Having experienced the humility of Jesus, these men chose to argue about their own greatness. Wow!
Then Christ spoke to them. He told his disciples not to be like the leaders of the Gentiles who lorded it over men and called themselves Benefactors, or friends of the people. Sound familiar? It seems politicians have always said they are our friends. In contrast, Jesus said greatness begins with humility and being a servant. He told the disciples they must follow his example. They must be uncommon leaders.
If you want to show Christ to others, you must first be a servant. Jesus washed his disciples feet and then went to cross in their place. Do you desire the humble heart of a servant or is your desire to be noticed by others?
Easter is about following Christ. It is about dying to yourself and serving. Christ’s service and sacrifice transformed his bickering disciples into men who brought the gospel to their world. May he do the same for you and me. Remember how Jesus turned ugliness into beauty, selfish men into servants for the gospel.