Today's scripture focus passage: Luke 22:21-30 -
But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.Today we are in the Upper Room, the secretive place Jesus had prepared for Himself and His disciples to celebrate the last Passover. I mention that it was secretive because His disciples knew how dangerous a position Jesus was in. They knew the tension was mounting and the rumours were swirling and physical danger was at hand and so Jesus' statement that His betrayer was at the table with them will have shocked them. Here all these precautions had been taken to keep this place a secret ~ even most of them hadn't known where the feast would be until it was ready for them; Jesus had made Himself somewhat scarce and appeared after they were already assembled in the room. And despite all the attention to secrecy, His betrayer is eating with them! And He knows it!!
And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
“You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Luke doesn't mention it, but all the other Gospels include the exchange whereby the disciples quiz Jesus and ask Him which of them is the betrayer. I find that interesting. Each of them obviously recognized his weaknesses, the very real possibility that it could be him, even though at that moment he couldn't imagine betraying the Teacher.
Anyway, it almost appears, here in Luke, that many still don't know. Maybe this little exchange happened before Jesus singled out Judas. Maybe he'd already left and the disciples were expressing their disdain at how hypocritical Judas had been and how they would never have turned on Jesus. We don't really know, but their conversation takes a turn for the worse and they begin comparing themselves to each other ~ maybe even pointing out and bringing up each others' past failures. And Jesus has to reign them in and get them to refocus, reminding them that His Kingdom isn't about who APPEARS the greatest, but about being a true servant. He points to Himself as their best example and of course, as we know from the other Gospels, this is the point where Jesus literally places Himself at the lowest possible position and washes their feet.
But then He makes an absolutely amazing statement: "In my Kingdom, you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel"!! These eleven men, with the addition of Matthias after Jesus' resurrection, will be the foundation of The Church. Though they are weak, human, and still uncomprehending at this time, they will become the fathers of Christianity!
There will be special honour in Heaven for these men specifically, but we have the promise of ruling with Jesus as well ~ those of us who persevere and finish strong in the faith. We will reign with Him forever!!
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year reading: 3 John; Daniel 5-6
Monday's scripture focus passage: Luke 22:31-34