You know about the last supper. But there is another story of Jesus’s last night that we don’t recall 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!
Perhaps the dispute went 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.
These men had participated in the Last Supper. Their Lord had just washed their feet. Having experienced the humility of Jesus, these men chose to argue about their own greatness! What a painful window into my own heart.
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 that politicians have always told us they are our friends.
In contrast, Jesus said greatness begins with being a humble servant. He told the disciples that to be uncommon leaders, they must follow his example.
If you want to show Christ to others, you must first be a servant. Jesus washed his disciples feet, witnessed their ugly display of pride and then went to the cross in their place.
Easter is about following Christ. It is about dying to yourself. It about having the heart of a servant.
Christ’s sacrifice transformed his bickering disciples into men who brought the gospel to their world. Jesus turned ugliness into beauty, selfish men into servants for the gospel.
May he do the same for you and me.