A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be the greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. (Luke 22:24-26)
The death of the last parent often causes family strife. Not only is it a time of sadness, it is a time of distribution of family treasures and power. The matriarch or patriarch of a family has died. Deep sadness doesn’t always bring out the best in us. Clearly it didn’t bring out the best in the disciples either.
The dispute of who was the greatest undoubtedly arose between John and Peter, Jesus’ closest friends. They may have fought for His robes and sandals when he died, but the guards who beat Him took those. Jesus had no material wealth when He died. In their sadness, Peter and John fought for power.
No one can replace Jesus. He immediately put a stop to their unbecoming behavior by telling the apostles and us we aren’t to seek power, money, and material goods like kings and Benefactors. Jesus tells us that elders should respect those who are younger. He tells Peter, the oldest apostle, to respect his younger brothers and us to respect children.
All the apostles will rule in God’s Kingdom with their particular gifts. Jesus tells us the best rulers serve. Jesus serves God first and then mankind. He is our example of complete love. “The One who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.” (John 8:29) When you love a spouse or a friend, you should always get joy from pleasing them. A marriage will never end when we exercise Jesus’ kind of love, but it must be mutual.
Father God, remind me to love others by doing what pleases them. In this season of celebrating Jesus’ birth help me find joy in buying and wrapping presents, baking, and standing in lines because I’m doing it for You and those I love. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.