The Road to Resurrection // The Grumbling Group

By Pastor Nate Powell

As we head toward the Easter season, Pastor Nate is writing a series of articles that lead us to the season in which we celebrate the cross and the empty tomb. This is article 4 of 5.

This past Sunday, we noted the old truth: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This is especially true of our human nature and frailty. We like to think that we are getting more holy, more sanctified, more perfected as a church. But in the end, we are still people; and even in our best moments as a church, we fall short of God’s standard.

Case in point, go to the upper room with Jesus and look at what takes place there. It’s especially glaring when you synchronize the accounts of the gospels just how great the sins and shortcomings of the disciples were. When you read John 13, you understand that the first thing that happened that night before the meal was that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. In doing so, John notes that Jesus uses the moment to speak to the servant attitude he has that his followers are to have as well: “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” (John 13:12-15)

Not only that, but Jesus immediately engages in a meal with his followers that is of deepest significance: the institution of communion. From this point forward, his believers will always remember what he has done by drinking his blood (the cup) and eating his body (the bread). We read this account of his sharing in Luke 22:14-19.

It is the most intimate moments with Jesus, their teacher, their leader, their savior. But what happens around the table as the disciples discuss amongst themselves? Luke 22:24 records it: “A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.” This is not the first time this discussion had arisen among the disciples, but it had to be especially hurtful to Jesus at this point, as HE HAD JUST SHOWN THEM what life as a disciple of Jesus was to be. It was to be a life of service and placing others first. They had missed the point and went on fighting with one another.

I will say that I am grateful to serve in a church currently where there is not much of this type of infighting and arguing, jockeying for position as to who will be the greatest church member. But the church is never far from this type of mistake: losing sight of the savior, jockeying for position, and arguing over petty and temporary things. What is the solution to such attitudes among believers? Jesus speaks the truth to those gathered in that upper room: “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” (Luke 22:25-27)

Jesus is the greatest good and is our great savior. Let’s be a church who lives daily and weekly in sight of that truth, and let us love and serve one another with humility. When we do, we follow directly in the footsteps of the Savior.