“There arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be the greatest. And He said to them, ‘the kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called “benefactors”. But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.'” (24-26)
Jesus has been reconstructing His disciples values and worldviews over the course of their time together. The upside-down Kingdom, as we call it, is nothing they were conditioned to expect. And down to the last hour, their priorities are still barking up the wrong tree.
In the West, we love our titles. Largely, because we find identity in our work and job titles. Our first questions when meeting a new person is, “what’s your name?” and “what do you do?” We often introduce ourselves with, “my name is _______ I AM A _______.” We want a higher position to make a bigger impression, to do something unique to sound interesting, or something technical to sound smart.
This, unfortunately, makes its way in to ministry settings too. As proclaimers of the upside down Kingdom, we too, like the disciples, want to know who is the greatest. We make celebrities out of pastors and “love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets.” (20:46) …I mean…
It’s easy to get off track, slide into cultural norms, or let our pride take the wheel, but Jesus is ready to correct this with His own example.
“For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” (27)
It’s not about being impressive, interesting, or smart, it’s about being like Jesus.