“And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.”
Sometimes the Bible is like a mirror. If we are willing, we are able to clearly see our reflection on its pages. The Scripture before us describes some tension between the disciples: “there was also a strife among them.” The timing of this event could not have been more critical. Jesus was with the twelve in the upper room and had just announced to His men that one of them would betray Him. With that as a backdrop, these men were discussing “which of them should be accounted the greatest.”
Imagine such a conversation taking place just as they are about to accompany the Savior to Gethsemane, and see Him taken to Calvary. It seems so disrespectful, contentious, prideful, inconsiderate, and disconnected from the events before them. However, it fit perfectly into the discourses of the evening. Jesus was using these final moments to prepare His disciples for His departure. He capitalized on their discussion to teach them about true greatness and THE ATTITUDE OF SUPERIORITY that we all must deal with. As He continued, Jesus told them that worldly leaders exercise authority over their subjects, but it was not to be so in His kingdom. It was His intention that among His followers, those who were the leaders were to be the greatest servants. He used Himself as an example, saying that He had been among them as a servant, not a ruler.
Some of the struggles and attitudes of the disciples put us in touch with our own humanity. These were outstanding men who would be greatly used of the Lord, but they
struggled with their flesh and desire for exaltation and recognition. They wanted to know “which of them should be accounted the greatest.” Who would be in charge? Who would be the most important? Certainly, no one would want to be considered the least.
This ATTITUDE OF SUPERIORITY was not in the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not come to be served, but to serve others. We must recognize in our own hearts these prideful attitudes and ambitions and resist the temptation to exalt ourselves above others. The text tells us, “there was also a strife among them.” Pride, ambition, and self-exaltation cause much strife, not only between individuals, but also in our own hearts.