“…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:43-45
This one just feels backward, doesn’t it? I mean, nice guys finish last, right? A man’s house is his castle, isn’t it? Look out for number one. That’s what we’re told. Yet, the Lord of the universe came “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom…”
Imagine being a fly on the wall for the Last Supper. You know the story – Jesus washes the disciples’ feet before sharing the Passover meal with them. He calls out Judas and rebukes Peter in the Upper Room. Back up a little, though. Remember that these men have been with Jesus for three years. He’s been teaching them about loving and living, giving and forgiving, sacrificing and serving. And yet, within a few weeks prior to this night, his disciples were arguing about who was the greatest among them. Two of them even asked to be seated at Jesus’ right and left when He is established as king!
You can almost hear Jesus sigh as He thinks to Himself, They still don’t get it. The disciples are all seated at the table, wondering who forgot to get a servant to wash their feet. Jesus looks around at each of them. Not one of them volunteers to serve the others. The thought doesn’t even cross their minds. While this comes as no surprise to Jesus, I imagine He is, nevertheless, disappointed. So, Jesus stands up.
“…so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:4-5)
A look of shock, almost horror, comes over each of the disciples as the “full extent” of Jesus’ love (John 13:1) begins to dawn on them.