After fast-forwarding to the cross and the empty tomb for Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we’re returning to where we left off in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus had just spoken heavy words that the disciples couldn’t understand.
“Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying. (Luke 9:44–45)
The Son of Man, having already humbled himself by “taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men (Phil. 2:7)” was about to humble himself to the ultimate extent, “by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8).”
And his disciples didn’t get it. Just how much they didn’t get it is revealed in what happens next. “An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest (Luke 9:46).” Which of them? Unbelievable, right?!
But we shouldn’t roll our eyes too quickly. The same preoccupation with greatness dwells in each of our hearts. We look around and compare ourselves to others, concerned about how we stack up and where we rank. We are easily tempted to exalt ourselves, even if it means putting others down. We are not above measuring our importance in likes and retweets. We are more like the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable than we might care to admit, who prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men.”
But this is not the measure of true greatness, as we will see. Not only does Jesus define it for us, he perfectly exemplifies it. And he encourages us to follow him in this. His answer is not “Don’t pursue greatness” but “Pursue true greatness.”
Jason Oakes will be preaching Luke 9:46-50 for us this Sunday and Kenny Clark will be leading our sung worship. Would you pray for each as they prepare? We will also be concluding our morning services with the Lord’s Supper.
See you Sunday, Grace! Come hungry.
Song Link of the Week
Christ and Christ Crucified by Lindsay Cofer