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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

New Royalty (Luke 22:25-26a)

"Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that."

Lavish lifestyles, opulent palaces with dozens, if not hundreds, of servants, and privilege characterize royalty and speak of greatness. Royal families generally live separate lives from the masses, commoners. We live in a day of "new royalty" where the Hollywood celebrity elite live like kings and queens. They often travel with an entourage of hairdressers, fashion consultants, and body guards, and live extravagant lives in multiple mansions hidden within walled compounds which separate them from the masses.

Jesus introduces an entirely different kingdom where service and sacrifice characterizes its royalty; where royalty wash the feet of others instead of having their feet washed. Jesus models and confers on to his disciples the "typical behavior" which should characterize His followers.
  • "He poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him."
  • "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."
  • "The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves."
It is so easy to envy the wealthy elite and mimic, in small ways, their narcissistic ways and forget that servants are not greater than their master. Our master, knowing fully that He was about to inherit His Father's kingdom, washed His disciples feet. Minutes later they argued over who was the greater, even after being warned that a traitor was in their midst. Greatness is not measured by how many servants someone has but how many feet he washes. We are a kingdom of foot washers.

I wonder, had the disciples washed one another's feet in that upper room would they then have argued about personal greatness?

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Mark 14:12-17; Matthew 26:17-20; Luke 22:7-14
  • What does this narrative teach about Jesus' authority?
John 13:1-20
  • How does Jesus demonstrate the full extent of His love? (this demonstration begins in the upper room, continues through the crucifixion and resurrection and ends at His ascension)
  • Why does Peter refuse Jesus' foot washing? (This isn't about personal pride but about his understanding of Jesus' identity)
  • What is Jesus teaching His disciples about their service?
Mark 14:18-21; Matthew 26:21-25; Luke 22:21-23; John 13:21-30
  • What does the question "Surely not I?" reveal about the disciples?
  • Why do the disciples not recognize Judas as the betrayer?
Luke 22:24-30
  • How does Jesus describe His kingdom and its followers?
Turning truth into prayer:
Ask the Lord to show you through your interactions with others if you have a heart of a servant or of a master.