William Barclay's Daily Study Bible

Strife Among The Disciples Of Christ (Luke 22:24-30)

22:24-30 Strife arose amongst them about which was to be considered greatest. Jesus said to them, "The kings of the gentiles exercise lordship over them and those who have authority over them claim the title of Benefactor. It must not be so with you; but let him who is greatest among you be as the youngest; and let him who is the leader be as him who serves. Who is the greater? He who sits at table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stayed with me in my tribulations; and I assign to you a kingdom, just as my Father has assigned one to me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and you will sit upon thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

It is one of the most poignantly tragic things in the gospel story that the disciples could quarrel about precedence in the very shadow of the cross. The seating arrangements at a Jewish feast were very definite. The table was arranged like a square with one side left open. At the top side of the square, in the centre, sat the host. On his right sat the guest of first honour; on his left the second guest; second on his right, the third guest; second on his left the fourth guest; and so on round the table. The disciples had been quarrelling about where they were to sit, for they had not yet rid themselves of the idea of an earthly kingdom. Jesus told them bluntly that the standards of his kingdom were not the standards of this world. A king on earth was evaluated by the power he exercised. One of the commonest titles for a king in the east was Euergetes ( Greek #2110 ), which is the Greek for Benefactor. Jesus said, "It is not the king but the servant who obtains that title in my kingdom."

(i) What the world needs is service. The odd thing is that the business world knows this. Bruce Barton points out that you will find by the road-side, over and over again, the sign, Service Station. It was the claim of one firm, "We will crawl under your car oftener and get ourselves dirtier than any of our competitors." The strange thing is that there is more argument about precedence, and more concern about people's "places" in the church than anywhere else. The world needs and recognizes service.

(ii) It is only the man who will consent to serve more than anyone else who will really rise high. It frequently happens that the ordinary worker will go home at 5.30 p.m. to forget his or her job until next morning, while the light will be burning in the office of the chief executive long after that. Often passers-by would see the light burning in John D. Rockefeller's office when the rest of the building was in darkness. It is a law of life that service leads to greatness; and the higher a man rises the greater the servant he must be.

(iii) We can found our life either on giving or on getting; but the plain fact is that if we found it on getting we shall miss both the friendship of man and the reward of God, for no one ever loved a man who was always out for himself.

(iv) Jesus finished his warning by promising his disciples that those who had stood by him through thick and thin would in the end reign with him. God will be in no man's debt. Those who have shared in the bearing of Christ's cross will some day share in the wearing of his crown.

- William Barclay's Daily Study Bible