January 9, 2014
A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. Luke 22:24
Most of the time most pastors get along well.
Even if they come from different denominations, they still extend to each other a modicum of professional respect.
That was not the case about five years ago when pride came between two preachers. These pastors, whose congregations thought they were in competition, met on the street. One of them coldly said, "I heard you speak the other night and recognized that sermon. You preached it about 14 years ago."
Somewhat put out by such a direct attack, the other shot back, "Thank you very much. I heard you speak just three weeks ago, and I can't remember a single word you said!"
The conversation probably wasn't much different as the disciples disputed about which of them was the greatest.
We expect little children to argue and brag. Children take great stock in telling why they're the smartest, cutest, fastest and bestest. But Jesus' disciples should have matured beyond such silliness.
How it must have hurt Jesus to hear them squabble.
His heartache stemmed from the fact that not only were His disciples fighting, but these were the men with whom He had worked the hardest. These were His trusted friends whom He had kept closest to Him, who had seen His miracles, and listened to His sermons on love. These were the ones who would be entrusted with the sharing of the Gospel.
Similarly, Jesus must be appalled by His present-day disciples who squander the church's volunteers and resources on insignificant and inconsequential internal disputes. How sad our Redeemer must be when normally sensible and almost always rock-solid Christians jockey for recognition and demand acceptance of their own points of view.
Jesus knew back then, and He wishes His people to know now that the church and its leaders have bigger enemies to fight than each other.
Jesus died and rose so His people could witness to others on His behalf. Jesus died and rose so His people would come to Him humbly and acknowledge, "Chief of sinners though I be, Jesus shed His blood for me."
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, forgive me when my pride gets in the way of doing all I can for You and Your work. If I am proud, let it be proud of the fact You are my Savior. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries