Inspired by Luke 22:24-30
“A dispute also arose among [the apostles] as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But [Jesus] said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves.’” Luke 22:24-26 (NRSV)
Throughout history the majority of the world’s population could be divided into two categories: those who were in authority and those served those who were in authority. Those who were in authority had a deep and sincere interest in keeping their authority, and they worked to maintain or elevate their status. Those who served were sometimes treated as though they were invisible or expendable. The servant class, though largely voiceless in society, also postured among themselves for position. Everyone in both classes was ranked, knew where their peers ranked, and were focused on achieving a higher rank for themselves, because with greater power comes greater privilege.
But God in Christ turned such power structures upside down. The Lord of all, the Ultimate Power of the universe, became a lowly human, a member of the peasant class of a conquered and oppressed people, and came to save the most wretched and undesirable among us. He showed respect to prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners, and taught that true power is not marked by privilege and status, but by love and grace. He taught this by his own example, and he charged that those who follow him also follow his example.
The world is still divided into classes, and individuals still posture for the best position with the best privileges. But in the kingdom of heaven, status is awarded based not on power and authority, but on humility. To have true power and authority, one must be willing to take the place of and even give himself up for the most wretched and undesirable among us, just as God in Christ did for us.
Let us pray. Humble Lord, you used your power to show us humility and grace. Help us to humble ourselves, that we may seek the everlasting rewards of your kingdom rather than the fleeting privileges of this world. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.