The Passion of Christ in the Gospel of Luke
A Guide to Meditation and Prayer
Week 5 - Day 1
Jesus Teaches About Greatness
Meditation on Scripture- Read Luke 22:24-34 and write your reflections in the workbook. Use the summary below for further reflection on the passage. Prayer- Use the Guide for Prayer.
The Bible is honest about the failings of its people, even its heroes. This is nowhere more evident than the gospel’s stories about the disciples. We see how very human they were. A poignant example is that, at the Last Supper, the last night they would spend with Jesus, the disciples argued about which of them should be the greatest. Jesus turned the moment into a teaching opportunity. They were not to be like the pagans where the great ones exercised their authority over others. They were rather to be the servants of one another. To make the point clear Jesus reminded them that he had been among them as one who serves.
Jesus then bequeathed to them a kingdom and commended them for being faithful to him. As the Father had assigned a kingdom to Jesus, so he now assigned a place to the disciples. They would be with him in his kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Then Jesus turned his attention to Peter. Jesus knew something they did not. Satan wanted to have his way with Peter, so he might destroy him. Jesus says that Satan wanted to sift him like wheat. Jesus however had prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail. Jesus instructed Peter to strengthen his friends when he had turned back to him. When Peter declared his total allegiance, even to death, Jesus announced that Peter was not as strong as he thought he was. That very night he would deny him three times.
This was a troubled evening for Jesus and the disciples. His passion was drawing near. He would institute the Last Supper as a lasting memorial to his sacrifice. Judas would leave to arrange the betrayal. Jesus would tell the disciples what was ahead, including their denial and desertion. The disciples found it difficult to understand what was in front of Jesus and they would be completely caught off guard by the events that were about to take place.
Things to Consider –
· The words of Jesus about greatness set the tone for the church. Life in the church is not about power but service and servanthood. There is hardly a more important lesson for any Christian disciple.
· Everyone has ambitions. Most of us long to be great in one way or the other. The scriptures do not discourage ambition, only seek to channel it. Greatness can be achieved but it is greatness in the model of Jesus who came to serve others. What ambitions do you have at the moment? How do they align with the idea of being a servant?
· Part of the ministry of Jesus was his trials and sufferings. He had no regular home, traveled on foot across the countryside, received criticism from many quarters, and ultimately had to face a painful and humiliating death. This however was his gift to us and his service to the world. What do we endure as a disciple? Does being a disciple cost us anything?
· Jesus is going to be exalted by the Father and given a kingdom but only after his humiliation. Yet his kingdom will reign and be glorious. What do you think Christ’s kingdom will look like when it fully comes?
· Do you really believe that Satan wants to do you great harm? Or do you think him mostly harmless? Jesus’ words warn us of his power and wrath. He would like to sift us like wheat in order to utterly destroy us.
· It is a great help and encouragement that Jesus now prays for the church (Romans 8:34) as he did for Peter. When Jesus prays for you, what do you think he prays? Can you imagine Christ praying for you? Do you think he prays that your faith will not fail?
Guide for Prayer –
· Close your eyes and take one full minute to calm your mind and spirit.
· Psalm 104:1 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” Use this phrase to turn your heart to God in adoration.
· Thank God for someone who has taken on the role of a servant for you, giving of themselves to you and for you. Thank God for them.
· Consider whether you have been a servant for the sake of someone else. If you can think of an instance, thank God for the privilege of doing so.
· Thank God that he has promised us a share in the kingdom of God. Ponder in prayer what this might mean and thank God for it.
· Imagine Jesus praying for you. What might he pray? Imagine him praying that your faith will not fail. Imagine yourself strengthened by the prayers of Jesus.
· Ask God to help you in the places your faith is weak and where you tend to fall to temptation.
· Take some moments to offer your own prayers to God. Offer whatever prayers and praises seem appropriate.