by Tina Howard
And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this. A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.
— Luke 22:23-24
They entered the city and found the man carrying a jar of water. Peter and John exchanged knowing glances and followed him home. Despite the number of miracles they had witnessed during their time with Jesus, their hearts still trembled as they inquired about the guest room. But sure enough, the upper room was there, furnished and opened to them just as he had said it would be.
When the hour came, the disciples reclined at the table, ready to celebrate the Passover together. Murmurs seeped through the room when Jesus began washing their feet. What was he doing? He spoke in riddles and veiled prophecies. They looked at each other. What was this about his body and his blood? And wait, did he just say betrayal? By one of our own? The chatter intensified as they sized each other up, questioning who the traitor would be. Then, in the midst of the sideways glances and hypothesizing, Luke tells us that a dispute arose among them. The conversation shifted from who among them was the worst to who was regarded as the greatest. As they argued, they overlooked the Greatest who was indeed among them.
I find myself there in that upper room. I’m in the presence of Jesus, and yet I’m still focused on myself. The greater story is unfolding before my eyes, being whispered into my ear, but I’m clinging to this smaller story where I play the hero. This time of Lent is no exception.
I micro-manage my fasting, worry if I have prayed enough, and question if I should go through the Resurrection Eggs one more time to make sure my kids really got it. My gaze remains fixed on the details, and I fail to connect them together to see that they all add up to more. Much more.
I look again into the upper room, and I try to empty myself of all other stories. This time, he begins to fill in the pages with words and images that turn my world upside down. Servanthood. Sacrifice. Love. The Greatest sat in that room waiting for me. I just needed to look up to find him.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you ever get distracted by your own story and miss the Greater Story? Reread the passage and seek only him. What do you observe? How can you remain focused on him this season?
PRAYER: Father, you have written the greatest love story ever told, and yet, I admit that I keep flipping through the pages just trying to find myself in it. Help me to let those smaller stories go and cling only to yours. All glory and praise belong to you alone. Amen.