Summary: How can you tell you may be bordering on betrayal? Learn from Judas, Peter and the other disciples in this exposition of Luke 22:24-38.
“The Sign of Secret Sins”
How can you really tell what’s going in someone’s mind? You can’t! The best we can do is listen for verbal signals and watch for visual signals. Usually, as people talk and live, what’s inside starts coming out.
For instance, when I was about 14, I deceived my parents about something as silly as lunch, and it wasn’t until a family dinner one night, oddly enough., that my words exposed me. Even though I took my lunch every day – the one my mom made me – I would stop by the front desk of the dining hall and simply say, “Charge it.” Then I would promptly and discreetly toss my virgin sack lunch into the trash bin. It made no sense, but that’s what I was doing for about 3 weeks. You see, because my parents worked at the school on the college level, they had an account. “Nice,” I thought, especially when a hot lunch seemed so much more attractive and delicious than a brown bag. After all, all the cool kids had bought hot lunch, so I was discovering a new a paradigm of acceptance as well, a whole new world of friends.
That whole new world unraveled one night at dinner when my little sister commented on her new lunch items. She was getting ham, some new kind of chips, and some other stuff I had never seen. So leave it to me to speak up and vent my sense of injustice. “Why don’t I get that kind of stuff?” WHAM – was I in trouble! That began a conversation that lasted a little longer than I had hoped (ouch!), and entered me into the home school version of “Debt Reduction for Dummies.” That’s right – I had to pay back the money I had sinisterly charged and apologize to the accounting office and the front desk clerk. Yes, my greed had been exposed. My deceit was confronted. How? By this crazy muscle tucked in behind my lips. Truly, our words usually give us away. It’s one of the surest signs outwardly something isn’t right inwardly.
Let’s look at the two verbal exchanges that take place in this portion of our text: An argument between the disciples and an announcement from Peter. Let’s look a little closer, okay?
1. First, the disciples argue about their authority in 22:24-30. Notice some textual observations that bring this point home.
The word “dispute” in 22:24 is similar to a “rivalry.” In other words, a competition erupted over their future pecking order.
And the word “greatest” in 22:25, while used here in the superlative form, has a comparative usage as well in this text, so it can be seen as “greater.” They weren’t just wondering about greatness, or who would be among the greatest. They wanted to know who would be greater than all the others, in the end making him the greatest.
According to 22:25-26, they were now thinking like the world. How unfortunate! You see, in that culture those with the authority were the ones who called themselves “Benefactors.” They would actually hire people to pay homage and render tribute by having these “hired hands” speak nice words about them and call them fancy titles. They were really into the look of authority.
This is not to be in the kingdom! Instead, the kingdom isn’t about the look of authority, but a lifestyle of faithful service. God’s kingdom isn’t about what you call yourself, but rather about your actions – how do you live?
While there is a load of insight here on servant hood, I want to instead draw your attention to what tipped Christ off to their inner struggle with pride and greed – their conversation! They probably intended their conversation to be about their kingdom status, but their hearts were really curious about their own personal benefits. Inwardly, they were struggling with greed, and their words were giving them away. You see, our words are a window to our hearts.
And Jesus sets them straight, doesn’t he? He nabs them in their downward trend and teaches them what is the right view of spiritual authority – serving others faithfully! And to those that served with him well – faithfully – he would reward them later. And in the middle of their struggle, he does commend them for “standing with him,” and assures them that faithfulness pays off. He will reward them at a later date by granting them the right to have authority in his kingdom. It won’t be now, as they were hoping, and as Judas thought, but it will happen during the millennium when Christ rules and his physical kingdom is established on the earth.