Summary: True greatness does not come from what you get but from what you give.
Becoming Great in God’s Eyes
Rev. Brian Bill
When I woke up on Wednesday I smelled what I thought was the scent of teriyaki coming from the kitchen. Since it was my birthday I figured Beth was doing some early preparation for a special supper. But as I reached for my first cup of Folger’s, I realized that the chicken was in the oven and the dining room table was set. Beth told me that since none of the girls would be home that evening we were going to have our dinner menu for breakfast!
It was fantastic – baked teriyaki chicken, a bed of brown rice, roasted garlic asparagus tips, and broccoli salad with dried cranberries. When we finished with the breakfast banquet, she then brought out my favorite birthday dessert – confetti angel food cake (It has to be confetti; one year that didn’t happen and I pouted all day) and Cool Whip frosting with Heath Bar pieces sprinkled on top!
Because the day was all turned around, for supper that night Beth and I each had a steaming bowl of Cream of Wheat.
We learned last week that Jesus turned the predictable Passover supper upside down. This became a meal to remember when He declared that the bread symbolized His body and the cup represented the new covenant in His blood. The celebration of communion helps us remember what we tend to forget.
The Slippery Slope of Selfishness
I’m sure this shook up the disciples and then Jesus said something after supper that really unsettled them. Immediately after taking the cup, Jesus declared in Luke 22:21-22: “But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.” In the East, there is nothing much worse than eating someone’s bread while secretly planning to betray him.
According to Mark 14:19, the disciples were really saddened by this “…and one by one they said to him, ‘Surely not I?’” I think they were just being honest about their own hearts when they asked, “Is it me?” Each disciple probably wondered if he was capable of betraying the Lord. After all, they were weak and had doubts…just like we do.
But then they went from “Is it me?” to “It must be you!” Look at Luke 22:23: “They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.” I think it’s probably Thaddeus who always looks so withdrawn or maybe Andrew who just seems so anxious. Come to think of it, Simon looks pretty slippery and Matthew is always so mouthy. It certainly couldn’t be Judas because he does such a good job keeping track of our money.
Their discussion deteriorates even more. Luke 22:24 reveals what happened when they moved from an honest assessment of themselves to attacking one other. The slope is slippery because now in this next step they are filled with pride: “Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” Are you kidding me? Each of them think that they’re “all that.” Their individual opinions matter more than anything else. Some of us end up here more often than we care to admit when we think our views are more important than anyone else’s. We tend to think our preferences are morally right while everyone else is just plain wrong.