Lenten Day 28: Traitor, Celebrity-Wanna-Be’s, Humble Servants?

Today’s Lectio Divina: Luke 22: 21-30 (MsgB)

“Do you realize that the hand of the one who is betraying Me is at this moment on this table? It’s true that the Son of Man is going down a path already marked out—no surprises there. But for the one who turns Him in, turns traitor to the Son of Man, this is doomsday.” They immediately became suspicious of each other and began quizzing one another, wondering who might be about to do this. Within minutes they were bickering over who of them would end up the greatest. But Jesus intervened: “Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It’s not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant. Who would you rather be: the one who eats the dinner or the one who serves the dinner? You’d rather eat and be served, right? But I’ve taken my place among you as the one who serves. And you’ve stuck with Me through thick and thin. Now I confer on you the royal authority My Father conferred on Me so you can eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom and be strengthened as you take up responsibilities among the congregations of God’s people.”

Isn’t it interesting that after three years with Jesus, the men who Jesus hand-picks to be His closest associates are still pretty much a bunch of typical hardheaded guys? Sometimes I wonder why the Church has labeled these bungle-heads ‘apostles’ or ‘saints.’ From everything I see here, I’m wondering if Jesus might be rolling His eyes in frustration on this special Passover celebration 33 AD.

Here it is His final Passover Seder, Jesus is preparing to do the most impossible work of His entire career (i.e. suffer and die on a gruesome cross) and He’s stuck in this upper room with a traitor and a bunch of celebrity-wanna-be’s!

I don’t know about you, but if I’m Jesus, I’d be a bit worried that God’s perfect plan of redemption for the world might be in some pretty big trouble about now. Of the twelve key guys Jesus has been training over the last three years, one is about to betray Him to His enemies, and the other eleven are either squabbling over who the traitor in their midst might be, or squawking loudly about title or position, seeing themselves in ways that will make each of them look like the hero.

And yet here’s Jesus. Going right ahead and bestowing Kingdom power and authority on this bunch of braggarts!

Oy Vey! What is Jesus thinking here?

Can’t He see these twelve men are full of themselves and completely unaware that their Master will be crucified the next day?

But maybe, just maybe, Jesus sees something in these guys that the rest of us might be missing. Remember that Jesus is the one who had the ability to hand-select these guys to His team. Jesus has spent three years with these men. He’s seen the way they respond to a crisis. He’s seen their good moments and their failures. He knows their strengths and He also knows their glaring weaknesses. He knows them inside and out and … guess what?

He still loves them dearly and believes in them, even when they are displaying very little potential from our earthly perspective.

Keep in mind that Jesus doesn’t operate His Kingdom ministry from an earthly perspective alone. Jesus has access to a higher power of authority. An authority of power that can take hard ugly rocks and turn them into sparkling jewels. Jesus knows the same Creator who made something out of nothing (see Genesis 1) is also at work in the lives of these fallen men. Transforming them from being self-centered, argumentative lovers of self into something the world has never seen before.

Kingdom people. Individuals who have been transformed by the in-breaking power and presence of God.

And the key to that transformation, you might ask?

As Jesus spells it out so clearly here, the Kingdom, over the next few days, weeks, months and years, will transform this bunch of celebrity-wanna-be’s into humble servants of God. Men who lead by serving. Men who choose to be great by elevating the small. Men who achieve high goals by assigning themselves to lowly tasks.

Gosh. I’m wondering how this message of humble servanthood might preach today in some of our American churches? I’m wondering if Jesus sees us in the same way He sees His friends that Thursday night in this upper room in Jerusalem? I wonder if He sees the jewels inside us even when we are still acting like a bunch of traitors and celebrity-wanna-be’s?

I hope so. I pray so.

My prayer: Lord, I see in Your first-century disciples many of the same ugly qualities I see in myself. Thank You that You don’t get put off by that human nature that makes us so ungodly at times. And thank You that You keep working in us, transforming us into Kingdom people, humble servants who have a heart of great humility, for Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: How am I more like the disciples on this Passover night than I might care to honestly admit? Am I a celebrity-wanna-be or even a traitor at times? Am I looking carefully at my motives? Like Jesus asks, am I looking to be served a meal or am I more willing to serve a meal to others?

So, what are you experiencing today as we are journeying through this Lenten Adventure?

Over a 48-day period (from Ash Wednesday through the Monday after Easter), you and I will be taking a deeper look at the stories surrounding the life and ministry of Jesus (especially the last week known as Holy Week) as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Our Lenten Journey home page for ease of use. 

If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!

Click here to go onto the next Lenten session…

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