International/Uniform Sunday School Lesson for March 24, 2013
Scripture Text: Luke 22:14-30
Purpose: To comprehend that Christ's kingdom is built on service rather than prestige or power
Luke 22:14-30 (CEB)
14When the time came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the apostles joined him. 15He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 I tell you, I won’t eat it until it is fulfilled in God’s kingdom." 17After taking a cup and giving thanks, he said, "Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 I tell you that from now on I won’t drink from the fruit of the vine until God’s kingdom has come." 19After taking the bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 20In the same way, he took the cup after the meal and said, “This cup is the new covenant by my blood, which is poured out for you.
21"But look! My betrayer is with me; his hand is on this table. 22 The Human One goes just as it has been determined. But how terrible it is for that person who betrays him." 23They began to argue among themselves about which of them it could possibly be who would do this.
The disciples debate greatness
24An argument broke out among the disciples over which one of them should be regarded as the greatest.
25But Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles rule over their subjects, and those in authority over them are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26But that’s not the way it will be with you. Instead, the greatest among you must become like a person of lower status and the leader like a servant. 27So which one is greater, the one who is seated at the table or the one who serves at the table? Isn’t it the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
28“You are the ones who have continued with me in my trials. 29And I confer royal power on you just as my Father granted royal power to me.30Thus you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones overseeing the twelve tribes of Israel.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
As we prepare to enter “Holy Week” it is only proper that we move to the New Testament for a few weeks. Today's text is one we have heard many times, parts of which we hear each time we celebrate Holy Communion.”
Unfortunately we may be so familiar with the words that we miss the lesson that Jesus was teaching both us and his disciples.
As we look at today's text, there is little doubt that Jesus is both the host and the servant at this gathering. Jesus is hosting this gathering as evidenced by verse 14. There is a slight difference of opinion between Luke's account and John's account. In Luke this is considered a “passover feast” in John's (John 13:1-2) account the feast is a day prior to the “passover” meal. Or as those that believe John's version might imply, Jesus was crucified on Thursday not Friday and thus was in the tomb the full three days. There are those that would argue that the meal was much to casual and laid back to be a “passover” meal, since the passover meal was originally to be eaten in haste, as the Israelites prepared to leave Egypt.
For those of you that like a little lesson in Greek, the word translated as “giving thanks” is eucharisteo in Greek, which is where we get the word “Eucharist.” Most of us refer to it as “Holy Communion.” It is a meal of thanksgiving. From the Jewish book called Mishnah Pesachim (written around 200 A.D.) chapter 10 you can see the order of the Seder meal. (http://www.bmv.org.il/shiurim/pesachim/pes10.html )
Some interesting thoughts on the text should be noted, verse 21 notes that Jesus is willing to eat with the betrayer. The desciples quickly lose interest in the betrayer and start arguing about who is the greatest. In Christ church the greatest will lead like a servant. In Christ church the one who sets at the head table is also the one that serves. Jesus grants to his followers a royal power to serve, which could mean dying just as Christ responded to the power given to him by the Father.
The newly ordained Pope of the Roman Church, Pope Francis, probably has it right, the greater you are the more humble you should become.
To be like Christ is to become a servant to those around us and to those that we love.