24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. 25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.
28 “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. 29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
35 And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?”
So they said, “Nothing.”
36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37 For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.”
38 So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”
And He said to them, “It is enough.”
24. Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.
• Not known when this happened
• It probably took place at the very beginning of the feast.
• Just how will the thirteen be arranged around the table?
• Who will occupy the positions of honor, and in what order of rank?”
• “Which disciple should wash the feet of the other disciples and of the Master?”
• Here was Jesus, about to lay down his life for these men, centering his attention on their needs, loving them very tenderly and intensely.
• Yet, while his heart goes out to them, they are quarreling about the question, “Who of us is the greatest?”
• What made their attitude even more reprehensible was that they had been reprimanded before for this selfish attitude.
25. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’
• Jesus showed these men that their egotism was a worldly, pagan trait.
• It reminded them of the self-centeredness of “the kings of the Gentiles.”
• These men, while exercising their authority ruthlessly, nevertheless took delight in being called Benefactors! (Kings get wealth by taxes)
26, 27. But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.
• This mention of “the youngest,” where we might have expected “the least,”
• Under normal conditions the Bible regarded old age as honorable and to be held in respect.
• Jesus, then, wants the greatest to become like the youngest, the one least in honor.
• He wants the leader to serve.
• Does true greatness really consist in having someone wait on you?
• Jesus answers this question by stating, “But I am among you as one who serves.”
• His entire earthly sojourn was a life of rendering service to others in so many ways.
• The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.
• Was not this the essence of his purpose in coming to earth?
28–30. “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
• Ignoring their many defects, the Great High Priest praises them for the faithfulness they have shown throughout his many trials.
• Others, by hundreds, had left the Savior (John 6:66)
• These men—Judas excepted—had remained loyal to him.
• This loyalty been expressed beautifully by Peter as their spokesman (John 6:67–69), and by Thomas (John 11:16).
• Isn’t it amazing to think of the fact that the apostles were dorked up in so many ways but they got the “sticking with Jesus” thing right and that made all the difference?
• And so Jesus assigns them a kingdom.
• Jesus reminds his disciples that a kingdom had been assigned to Him by his Father.
• They will share in his royal rule.
• “Judging the twelve tribes of Israel,” a repetition of the promise Jesus had made earlier
• The will rule in the restored new Israel.
• All the chosen ones of both the Jews and the Gentiles (cf. Gal. 6:16), will one day be finally gathered together.
• The Twelve, who have followed Jesus here, having remained loyal to him in his trials (Luke 22:28), are going to receive the special reward that among all the members belonging to the new Israel they will be pre-eminent in reflecting the glory of their Lord and Savior.
• Those who have been closest to Jesus here will also be closest to him there.
• The Gospel now shifts its attention on Jesus and Simon…
31, 32. And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
• Jesus calls him Simon, not Peter, the Rock.
• In himself, Simon is a weak creature, not at all a man of stability, no rock.
• “Simon, Simon” indicates emphasis and deep concern.
• What love does the Savior has for us that, in the midst of a predicted betrayal, He’s more concerned about the betrayer than Himself?
• He said “Behold” or “Take note,” “Pay attention,” “Watch out,” whichever rendering one may prefer.
• Simon will never be able to say that he was not warned.
• Satan’s insistent demand is to destroy Peter.
• Satan has desired to sift … as wheat.”
• It’s a repeated, swift, and violent shaking of the wheat in a sieve.
• The chaff will rise to the surface. This is then thrown away.
• The purpose is to save the wheat, now separated from chaff and other unwanted materials.
• What Jesus is saying is that the disciples too will be subjected to a severe trial.
• Although Jesus is here addressing one individual, namely, Simon, he is predicting what is going to happen to the entire group (you is plural).
• Satan has asked for you … that is, has desired to have the disciples for himself.
• We are reminded of the story of Job, how Satan demanded that he be given a free hand with respect to this eminent child of God.
• But I have prayed for you (singular, Peter).
• Aren’t the “buts” the best part of the Bible?
• Satan has asked BUT I have prayed.
• It’s the “buts” of Scripture where we find the Gospel most often.
• “I have prayed for you (singular)”
• He has prayed specifically for Simon.
• Jesus had prayed for the rest this very night (John 17:6–19).
• But here, the prayer is for Simon and for him alone.
• Simon was the leader.
• The substance of Christ’s prayer was “that your faith may not utterly fail,”
• Christ’s prayer was that, in the end, Peter’s faith would prevail.
• “and once you have returned [or: have retraced your steps], strengthen your brothers.”
• Simon must make good use of this bad fall. He must use it to strengthen his fellow disciples.
• He would do so because Christ prayed for him!
33. But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
• It is clear from this that Simon did not know himself.
• “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? Jer 17:9
• Simon should have prayed the prayer of Ps. 139:23, 24.
• Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
34. Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
• This indicates the shallow character of Simon’s boast.
• Within just a few hours, Peter will publicly disown his Master
• The rooster crowing would not only remind Peter that he was a betrayer.
• This very rooster-crowing will also serve as a means of bringing Peter back to repentance.
• Christ’s reference to it becomes firmly embedded in that disciple’s mind, so that at the appropriate moment this will suddenly pull the rope that will ring the bell of Peter’s conscience.
• Note also that Jesus now calls him Peter, the Rock, as if to remind him of his duty.
• Christ calls things that are not and they come to be.
• Christ creates that rock.
• In verses 35-38, the discussion between Jesus and the disciples resumes.
• Jesus tells them they are about to be confronted with a new situation.
• Up to now He had fully assumed the responsibility of caring for them.
• The enemies had aimed their poisoned arrows mainly at Christ.
• From now on things would be different.
• For this change they must prepare themselves.
• From now on Jesus, from his position on the Father’s right hand in heaven, would certainly still bless and keep them.
• But in just a little while Jesus will be taken away from these men.
• They will no longer be able to walk by his side, asking him questions and listening to his answers.
• Also, once Jesus has been crucified, the wrath of the opponents will be directed against Christ’s disciples.
• It is they who will then be persecuted.
35. And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.”
• This is referring to the sending of the Seventy
• The Lord asks the disciples whether under these circumstances they had suffered lack of anything.
• When they answer that they had not,
36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.
• The situation for the disciples will soon be different.
• From now on, these men will have to take the initiative.
• Christ won’t be planning everything for them to do.
• They will need to cultivate courage in a new way because Christ won’t be there in the same way.
• The training wheels are coming off.
• Making provision for missionary travels will now be necessary.
• What does Christ mean by taking a Sword, though?
• Does he mean a literal sword?
• This doesn’t seem likely from what we’ll see in verse 38.
• The term sword must be interpreted figuratively.
• The meaning is that in the circumstances that are about to arise The Eleven will need all the courage they can muster.
• Jesus was constantly referring to his imminent death to them.
• This had to fill the hearts of the disciples with dismay and bewilderment.
37. For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.”
• Jesus clearly quotes Isaiah 53 as referring to Himself.
• The statement is by no means pessimistic. It is the very opposite.
• The words must still be accomplished indicate that the Savior regarded not only his life but also his death as the fulfillment of God’s plan.
• This is not an accident.
• This is why the Father sent the Son.
• Christ, though conscious of his innocence and his holiness, will, in fulfillment of prophecy, be numbered with the transgressors,
• He clearly implies that his death is substitutionary in character.
• Would Jesus have quoted these words from Isa. 53:13 if he had not also believed the words which immediately follow: “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.”?
• How tragic that, once again, the disciples do not understand the meaning of Christ’s words.
• Besides, they are still thinking of the immediately preceding passage (verse 36b) about taking a sword.
38. So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”
• As if Jesus had been talking about the necessity of having and using literal swords!
No wonder that his answer is curt and decisive: So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”
• One important element in Christ’s suffering was certainly this: that even his most intimate disciples failed to understand him.
• Our struggle is not against flesh and blood.
• But most of our experience is angling for advantage in a world that lives by tooth and nail.
• We’re immersed in a fallen world that measures by power and influence.
• We’re immersed in a world where sinful men will take your life or your dignity if you don’t defend yourself.
• We’re immersed in vocations that require our performance or we’re fired.
• And, like the disciples, we take those experiences with us to Christ.
• We often take the template of this world and overlay the words of Christ to fit them.
• It’s not that Second Amendment rights aren’t important as just one example.
• But we can focus so much on the fact that there is a struggle on this earth against flesh and blood.
• And we forget that the real struggle is not against flesh and blood.
• We need to be concerned about the dangers in this world.
• But what we really need to fear is Him Who has power over life and death.
• Let’s face it, Beloved, we’re all messed up.
• Our priorities are often way out of whack.
• I’ve struggled with how I can sum this all up and I’ve come to this.
• We’re all a hot mess.
• Yes, we’re Christians but that’s not the mess.
• Yes, we have all we need in Christ but that’s not the mess.
• The mess is that old man in us that battles against the spiritual life.
• That old man thinks like the world.
• And that old man causes us to lose spiritual perspective.
• We may look at the apostles in this passage and say: “What’s wrong with them? Can’t they see?”
• But then, in our quiet moments, we’d have to realize that we’re no better.
• If someone was to write a book describing the gooned up things we say to Jesus, we’d have someone looking sideways at us too.
• But we have this hope.
• Christ says to us: “Yeah, you’re a hot mess.”
• “But you stick by me.”
• “Do you know why you stick by me?”
• “Because Satan has asked for you.”
• “But I’ll have none of that.”
• “You’re mine. From the foundation of the world.”
• “I have prayed for you.”
• “And I always get what I pray for.”
• Be encouraged, Christian.
• You’re life is more of a mess than you could ever imagine.
• But because Christ first loved you.
• But because you now love Christ.
• And because Christ has prayed for you.
• You will one day reign with Him!