"You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" The disciples had just asked Jesus which one of them was the greatest. We must understand that God's definition of greatness is far different than ours.
Oh, how we love the thought of becoming great- to be famous, powerful, strong and rich! Hollywood celebrities earn our adoration for their good looks and stage appeal. Athletes are admired for their god-like strength. The powerful and wealthy are glorified as those who have attained the highest standard possible. It is our sinful nature to put these people on pedestals, to see their elaborate lifestyles as our goals.
We celebrate those we deem great by serving them. We give them awards and accolades and the best seats in the house. We are eager to have them notice our devotion and admiration so perhaps, we might earn their favor and in due time, rise up to their status.
When His disciples, seeking an ego boost, asked Jesus, "Who is the greatest among us," Jesus caught them off-guard. "Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves." As these 12 men reclined around the supper table, it was Jesus, the Master, who was serving.
Jesus was trying to turn their thinking upside down. tell them that this was what it was all about. Very soon Jesus, the Son of God, would be serving them in the greatest way possible. That very night He would be handed over to the authorities and as an innocent man, would suffer and die on a cross to pay the debt of sinners. He also knew that those men devoted to serving Him would mature in their faith, laying down their lives as they shared the message of the cross.
Consider these passages as you ponder the story of "Who is the Greatest" in Luke 22:
Jesus, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to cling to, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)
Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. (John 15:20)
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.… (John 15:12-14)
He that finds his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 10:39)