Luke 22, 24 - 27
A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 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. 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.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
It almost beggars belief that the disciples could have had such a conversation.
Not only had they been with Jesus for three years and should have known better, but before they’d sat down to eat, the Gospel of John records Jesus had given them a stunning object lesson in the kind of leadership he expected of them. Jesus had washed their feet.
It’s hard to appreciate just how shocked the disciples must have been seeing Jesus do this.
It was a very necessary custom as the streets people walked through in their sandals were filthy.
There would only have been the most rudimentary drainage and sewerage systems. Foot washing was therefore a job reserved for the lowest servant in the household.
Peter and John, who had prepared for the Passover meal, had forgotten to arrange this but Jesus takes the opportunity to model the kind of leadership he wanted his followers to exercise.
But only a little while later, those very followers started an argument about who was the greatest. Incredible!
Perhaps what is most significant in this scene is that as they sit around the table, the one who is the greatest has not only washed the feet of others but he is the only one who still has dirty feet. Dirty feet – the sign of a great leader.
Something to do
Collect a pair of shoes for each person in your household, give them a good clean and return with a hearty blessing!
Something to pray
O Lord, forgive the sins of your servants. May we banish from our minds all disunion and strife; may our souls be cleansed from all hatred and malice toward others; and may we receive the fellowship of the holy meal in oneness of mind and peace with one another.
A prayer of the church of South India.
Today’s contributor is David Muir, Christian Aid’s Regional Co-ordinator for Kent