Most people wouldn’t admit to trying to be great, unless they are Muhammad Ali in the 60’s, but most people are trying to find greatness if we define it as the best life we can live. For us as American consumers, if we were to ask people what the best life we can live looks like, it would most likely be described as one where we have all the possessions we want and are free from discomfort. I could guarantee that nobody would exclaim that the best life results from doing extra work for somebody else for no immediate rewards.
Yet oddly enough — that’s exactly what Jesus described as the pathway to greatness. We’re going to be reading Luke 22:24-30 this Sunday. It is still Luke’s account of Jesus observing the Passover meal with his disciples, and the final words he gives to them.
In this passage, an argument breaks out about who is the most awesome of Jesus’ disciples, right on the heels of Him explaining how he’s going to be betrayed and sacrificed for everyone. It’s downright cringe worthy. Ever do that? Ever find yourself fixated on your own self-centric interests even in the face of someone else’s greater dilemmas? I have, way more often than I’m willing to admit to.
Jesus corrects his disciples by inviting them into a “descent into greatness”. He points toward a focus that is others-centered as the means of true satisfaction. Jesus pointed toward himself as our example for this kind of life. In what ways was Jesus a servant – and how can we use that as a template for our own lives? When is it most difficult to BE a servant, and how can we change our attitudes about that?
I love how Jesus finishes off the section by commending his disciples, promising them that they’ll be sharing his kingdom with him. It gives me such great hope. Here these goons have been vying for the disciple of the month award, in the face of Jesus’ great sacrifice – – and yet….THESE are the same guys he’s been longing to eat this meal with. These are the guys he likes, and wants to hang with. I’m encouraged by that. God’s grace super-abounds in spite of our human frailties. Pretty cool, huh?
Hope to see you Sunday!