Muhammed Ali said, “I’m not the greatest, I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ‘em out, I pick the round. I’m the boldest, the prettiest, the most superior, most scientific, most skillfulest fighter in the ring today. It’s hard to be humble, when you’re as great as I am.”
In the eyes of many boxing fans, Ali’s athleticism and cockiness made him the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, the GOAT (Greatest of All Time). Which athlete do you consider the greatest? Michael Jordan? Tom Brady? Serena Williams? Mia Hamm? This has been debated around many tables.
In today’s passage, the disciples gather for the Passover feast and a dispute rises about who is greatest. Jesus draws their attention to the table, where he institutes the Lord’s Supper and shares his purpose. Each Gospel writer affirms that establishing God’s Kingdom on earth is the focus of Jesus’ life and ministry.
Jesus, a frequent guest at so many tables, now sits at this one as the host. Through the meal, he proclaims, I am among you as one who serves (v. 27). “I am not the one you expected,” he explains again. “I am not the one who will lead armies to war. I am not the one who will perform miracles just to prove I am the Messiah. I am the one who invites you to sit with me. I am the one who sits at the table with women, sinners, outcasts, and immigrants. I am the one who demonstrates my power through weakness. I am not ‘the GOAT,’ but the sacrificial lamb preparing to be slaughtered. I am who I am.”
Jesus, the greatest of all time, the undisputed King of Glory, is among us as one who serves. Will we sit at his table and be persuaded by his truth?
When do you need to remember that greatness comes from serving?
God, may demonstrating your love be the greatness we pursue. When arrogance tempts us, help us choose your better way instead. Amen.