Sometimes I wonder how the Twelve could be so thick-headed.
Once again they were arguing about who was the greatest among them. They were jockeying for position, chests puffed out, claiming their right to be Jesus’ number two in command.
But how could they be having this conversation in the Upper Room? Was it instigated by the lingering conversation about who would betray Jesus? Can you imagine the conversation? “I would never betray Him! I love Him more than any of you. I’m closer to Him than any of you. He likes me better than any of you!”
But how? How could they be having this conversation at that time?
Jesus has just taken a towel and water basin and washed their feet, instructing them to do the same for one another.
“You also ought to wash one another’s feet, for I gave you an example, that just as I did for you, you also should do. Truly, truly I say to you, a slave is not greater than his Lord, nor an apostle greater than He who sent him. If you have known these things, you are blessed if you do them.”
And then they share the Passover meal. John records Jesus saying, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Can you hear the tenderness and affection He had for them. Jesus was being vulnerable. Sharing the bread and the cup with them, telling them His body would be broken for them and His blood shed for them, I can almost imagine the look in His eyes as Jesus spoke from the heart. Were there tears? Did His voice quiver with emotion?
How could they have this moment with Jesus and then immediately begin to argue about their greatness? If I’m Jesus, I would be incredulous! I would be thinking, “Really guys? Way to ruin a moment! Great timing.”
Jesus reminded them yet again that their greatness would be demonstrated through serving, and their lives would be a testimony of His glory and greatness only when they were marked by love.
“A new commandment I give you, that you love one another. Just as I loved you, that you also love one another. In this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The disciples needed to be reminded of this again and again. Before I come down too hard on them, I have to ask, “Do I also need to be reminded of this again and again?” The truth is, putting others before myself doesn’t come naturally. It isn’t easy. I can be just as prideful as the Twelve. I can think I know better than others, that I’m right, and that I’ve got it all figured out.
What a great reminder the disciples’ thick-headedness is for me. It’s like looking in a mirror. Pride or Love. Which do I see?
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