Luke 22 verses 25-26. “Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.”
Now the focus moves from Judas back to the other disciples. The argument over who would be the greatest probably took place at the beginning of the Passover Feast when the table was being arranged. Who would occupy the position of honour and in what order or rank would they be seated?
You can easily picture the scene. Here was Jesus, about to lay down his life for these men, focussing his attention on their needs and loving them tenderly and very intensely. Yet while His heart goes out to them, they are quarrelling about the question, “Who of us is the greatest?”
What makes this behaviour so very disappointing is that it is not the first time it has happened. Turn back to Luke 9 verses 46-48 to see a similar situation where they argued about this same question of greatness. They did not seem to learn their lesson; they seemed to forget so soon.
Jesus showed them that their egotism was a worldly trait. That is how Gentiles behaved (chapter 22 verse 25). In other words, people who have had no revelation from God, who live in spiritual darkness and know nothing about divine love and love for others, they behave in this way. These are the people always looking to be the greatest. Now look at Chapter 22 v 26: “But you are not to be like that”. True followers of Christ do not nurture that sort of ambition. To further illustrate his point Jesus says that those Gentile rulers who seek to be great call themselves “Benefactors” (Chapter 22 v 25.) For instance the emperor Augustus was called “god” and Tiberius was described as “one who deserved to be adored”. But it was all sheer hypocrisy. They were concerned about themselves not the people over whom they ruled. The title “Benefactor” or “well doer” had been conferred on both Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II. A quick search with Google will show you they were anything but benefactors.
So here is an interesting insight into human nature. Sometimes we feel ambition is justified because we can do so much good, if only we had the power. But the problem is that because we are all fallen beings, power very easily corrupts, as we know only too well from the world we live in.
We fool ourselves very easily. No wonder Jesus said: “You are not to be like those”. So then what are we to be like? We will find out tomorrow.