Redefining Greatness

Luke 22: 24-26

 24A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.26But 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 (NIV).

John 13: 2b-5

2The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him (NIV).

 Redefining Greatness

The contrast between the disciples arguing about who was going to get the office with the best view when Jesus assumed his rightful role as conqueror of the Romans and King of Israel and Jesus’ knowledge that his Kingship would come after his crucifixion is stark!  The disciples’ hunger for honor and power is understandable.  After all, they gave up everything in their lives to follow Jesus, and they put up with some difficulties along the way, but it still reminds me of the reactions of the characters in the “Lord of the Rings” movies.  Strong, powerful men saw the golden ring which held power over all rulers on the earth dangling brightly on Frodo Baggins’ neck, and they suddenly became violent and possessive of it, to the point of betraying and killing their friends!

 Strikingly, Jesus, our omnipotent God in the flesh, grabs the towel and basin of water like a servant and starts washing the feet of the disciples to show them what true leadership, true greatness is!  It seems that God designs power to be rightfully used in serving those in need to bring them life and salvation.  That’s true greatness in the eyes of Jesus.  How can we become greater in Jesus’ eyes by humbly serving those in need?