Luke 22:17-20 – Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you." (NKJV)
Each time we share at the Lord's table, these verses, or ones like them, are spoken. Rarely, however, are any of the next verses given focus.
Luke 22:21,23-24 – "But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table." Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing. Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. (NKJV)
The disciples did not have the benefit of knowing what would follow the Last Supper. However, the special way that Jesus lifted up the bread and wine must have had them wondering why He was making such a big deal out of an ordinary meal. At His accompanying words, "This is My body" and "This cup is the new covenant in My blood," surely, they must have at least paused to think, "Hmm, this is different. What does this mean?" They were probably confused about His statement about not eating and drinking again until the kingdom of God comes. Then, Jesus said that one of the twelve would betray Him. Even without understanding, they thought, "We need to get to the bottom of who will do this bad thing." However, what happens next is stunning. Remember that these twelve men were those who were the closest to Jesus. They had travelled with Him, had eaten with Him, and had seen how humbly He walked and lived. In John 13, we see Jesus humbling Himself to the most menial of positions as He washed the disciples' feet. Yet, these men begin to argue about who amongst them will be greatest!
No wonder that Jesus was moved to tears later that evening. Not only was He burdened with the horrible physical and mental atrocities soon to come, but this conversation must have so grieved Him. Even those twelve closest to Him did not understand any of His teachings. It is hard to believe that the human part of Jesus did not lament, "Did any of my teachings mean anything on this earth? Has my time here been wasted?"
Even if we do not say that we are the greatest, each time that we are impatient with our brothers, each time that we are angry with a stranger, each time that we boast in our accomplishments, we are displaying our sense of self-importance to the world. Do we ever think that every time we brag, are prideful, or try to take our own course of events without looking to the Lord, again, we hear a heavy sigh from our Lord, saying, "Oh child, have you not heard nor understood any of My teachings?"
Prayer: Dear Father, though we may be adults, in many ways, our behaviour is childlike and selfish. We thank You for Your infinite patience when we, like the disciples, consider ourselves to be the greatest. Lord, we are so thankful that You never let go of us, that You continue to draw us back to Yourself, and that, like a Father, You continue to love us. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "O Sacred Head Sore Wounded" (Lyrics)