We often say of someone who seems to be oblivious to an event that is going on around him, “He just doesn’t get it!” My most recent involvement with teaching children is at the Good News Bible Club we do at the local elementary school. While trying to teach a Bible lesson, there are times when the students are completely focused instead upon what child is sitting in what seat, who poked the other kid or said something unkind, or what is going to be the snack later that day. Distractions galore. Something of great meaning is being spoken around them, but they just don’t get it.
That is the group picture at the Last Supper. Jesus is dropping one profound thought after another on the disciples – talking about a final time to eat with them, of one who was going to betray him, of difficult times and circumstances just ahead. But it is blowing over their heads completely.
Rather, a controversial discussion breaks out amongst them as to who is the greatest in the Kingdom, each arguing apparently for their own resume. Jesus points out the upside-down nature of this thinking – that greatness comes from serving, as he himself had modelled for them.
Peter is particularly confident in the depth of his commitment to Christ – willing to go to prison or to die if necessary. We may believe this to be fully genuine. He truly believed his commitment to be that extensive, though the hour of testing would later reveal that the perception of strength was greater than the ability to access it at the moment of crisis.
With this entire narrative, we see the pinnacle moment of action coming into focus. As they leave the dinner behind and go out from the room, this is the moment of, by illustration, going down the tunnel onto the field of play or coming onto stage as the curtain opens. Yet the disciples merely see it as the next step of many steps they have been taking over the past three years.
They lacked readiness and spiritual insight as to what was happening around them. I don’t say that critically; I’m not suggesting that any one of us would have performed better at that moment. They were not ready for the stage they were walking out upon. Jesus knew that. But Jesus also knew that a time would come when they would be prepared and capable. He even speaks specifically to Peter of such a future time.
This again demonstrates what a profound difference there is in a person’s life once there is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit guides us into truth and understanding, bolstering the believer in ways that account for a total difference in life.
Yet at the same time, we must remain vigilant, being ever aware that there is Kingdom work going on all around us, though we may not always see it. We should understand as well that there is an Enemy who wishes for our failure and demise. And we must daily strive to remove those distractions and trivialities that erode our readiness for the greater cause of the Kingdom work.
We don’t want to be that spiritually daffy person who doesn’t get it. There just isn’t time to be poking others or being envious of the roles others play or don’t play. There is Kingdom work to be done.
Luke 22:7 – Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’[Isaiah 53:12]; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.