Luke 22:14-16, 24-30
This World Is Such a Small Fry to Fight Over
Jesus and his disciples are now in the “upper room” where that most holy of meals is about to be established. But one may ask, “But it had already been established fourteen-hundred years before in the miraculous event of the Passover and deliverance of the Israelites from slavery.” Yes, but here it is re-established and re-instituted as the Lamb of God, who was foreshadowed in the Passover lamb, was soon to fulfill all that was written in the Law and the Prophets, the Old Testament, which is all about him on every page.
And so it is fitting that Jesus says, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Of course. His time is at hand. Soon it will be finished. And here he is gathered with the men he has loved and poured his life into for three years for one last meal together. And he adds, “For I tell you I will not eat it [again] until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” This saying of Jesus speaks to the forward-looking aspect of the Supper. 1 Corinthians 11:26 tells us that as often as we partake of the Supper, we proclaim our Lord’s death until he comes. Thus, the Supper teaches us to not only look back at his sacrifice, but forward to his return.
As I am following A. T. Robertson’s rendition of the events, the next passage that comes relates the dispute among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. It seems so out of character with that most holy institution that I like to think, like Robertson, that this dispute arose before the Supper rather than after. We’ve seen this before (9:46-48; Mark 9:33-37). This time Jesus compares such struggles with the Gentiles (i.e., pagans) who lord it over one another. Jesus’ disciples are to be servants, not masters. And when they are masters, they are still to be servant-leaders.
But it’s what he says afterwards that strikes me. He tells them that they had been with him through all of his trials, AND that they would be assigned a Kingdom where they would eat and drink at Jesus’ table and reign with him. So the question comes: Why are you discussing such matters as who the greatest is in this earthly realm? Pagans fight over this world because it’s all they have. Unbelievers must make earth a heaven because they care not for the real one. And their heaven is centered around their own selfish desires no matter how noble they make them sound. Christians refuse to fight over the things of this world; after all, they’re so insignificant compared to the Kingdom which we shall one day rule at the side of our Lord. Let the pagans rule over this kingdom under Satan (Ephesians 2:2). We’ll follow Christ.