24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied. 
Amazing dinner conversation at the last supper. The disciples actually got into a dispute regarding their pecking order. Now, I don’t know if it was as crass as “I’m better than you!” Perhaps it was more subtle, through put-downs and bragging. Regardless, there was clearly some type of competition going on between the disciples, and Jesus felt that he had to address it.
Such competition in itself has no place among the children of the kingdom. But Jesus goes beyond merely telling them to knock it off. He points out that the criteria that they were apparently using – who serves whom – was completely antithetical to the values of the kingdom. It is a deeply rooted paradigm of the world that humans have constructed that the greater person is served by the lesser. So the hotel guest is greater than the maid, the restaurant patron superior to the waiter, the government official over the serf, and so on. Just think about how this basic paradigm is deeply woven in how we think. We consider it a mark of luxury and class to have people waiting on you, serving you, and seeking your fulfillment and wishes.
But Jesus rejects all of that. He is clearly the greatest among them, and he is, as he put it, among them as one who serves. John’s gospel points out that at this meal, Jesus washed their feet in making the same point (John 13). The kingdom has very different values on this point. True greatness in the kingdom is a matter of serving, not being served. In the kingdom, the one who serves is the greatest. This is seen most vividly in Christ, not just in washing disciples feet, but in giving his life on the cross, laying down his life for our redemption.
This is a point that needs to be made with us again and again because the world’s backward value system is all around us and deeply within us. Do I want to be great today? Do I want to show myself as a true child of the kingdom? Then I need to heed Christ’s call to be a servant. To put others needs and fulfillment before my own and to serve them for their good and the glory of God.
So my prayer is simply “make me a servant.” (Are you hearing that simply song in your head? I am) I pray that the Lord open my eyes this day to opportunities to serve. And that He give me the courage and faith to follow His lead.
 The New International Version. 2011 (Lk 22:24–38). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.