“For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:27, NIV84)
Behind the scenes the disciples were arguing with one another about who among them would be the greatest in the kingdom of God. This forced Jesus to breach the subject of greatness. What makes someone great? Is it a person’s intellect, strength, wealth, societal position? These are things that seem to define greatness in the world in which we live. But this doesn’t seem to be the how the kingdom of God defines greatness. Jesus reminded the disciples that it is not the servant at the dinner but the master at the head of the table who is the greatest at that moment. Then He challenged them to comprehend how it was that He, as the Lord of Lords, came into the world as one who serves.
It’s not easy for us self-centered human beings to wrap our minds around this spiritual concept, but it seems clear that in the kingdom of God, greatness runs side-by-side with goodness. Our God is good. Because He is good, He is motivated by His love and compassion for His creation. There is nothing that He would not do to show that goodness, love, and grace to us. He revealed the extent He would go by coming to the world in the form of a man and dying on the cross so that we might have life.
On the very night Jesus said these words, He took off His robe and washed the disciples’ feet. He came to seek, to serve, and to save us. May we find our greatness not in our accomplishments but in our service to God and our goodness to our fellow man.