Let him be as the younger - Dr. Lightfoot justly conjectures that Peter was the eldest of all the disciples; and he supposes that the strife was kindled between him and the sons of Zebedee, James and John. These three disciples were those whom Christ had distinguished by peculiar marks of his favor; and therefore it is natural to conclude that the strife lay between these three, the two brothers and Peter. Shall we or Peter be at the head? Neither, says our Lord. Let him, Peter, who is chief (ὁ μειζων, the eldest) among you, be as, John, ὁ νεωτερος, the younger. The younger part of the disciples do not appear to have taken any part in this contention; and our Lord shows Peter, and the sons of Zebedee, that they must be as unambitious as the younger in order to be acknowledged as his disciples. Dr. Lightfoot thinks that Peter was the mover of this strife, and therefore our Lord rebukes him by name.
But ye shall not be so - Christ here takes occasion to explain the nature of his kingdom. He assures them that it is established on different principles from those of the world; that his subjects were not to expect titles, and power, and offices of pomp in his kingdom. He that would be most advanced in “his” kingdom would be he that was most humble; and in order to show them this, he took a towel and girded himself after the manner of a servant, and washed their feet, to show them what ought to be their feelings toward each other. See John 13:4-17.
He that sitteth at meat - The master of the feast, or one of his guests.
But I am among you - This was said in connection with his washing their feet. He “showed” them how they ought to feel and act toward each other. “They” ought, therefore, not to aim at office and power, but to be humble, and serve and aid one another.
Jesus has given us an example in His life of purity and perfect holiness. The most exalted being in heaven, He was the most ready to serve. The most honored, He humbled Himself to minister to those who a short time before had been disputing as to who should be the greatest in His kingdom. TDG 192.6Read in context »
As they learn thus to study the lessons in all created things, and in all life's experiences, show that the same laws which govern the things of nature and the events of life are to control us; that they are given for our good; and that only in obedience to them can we find true happiness and success. Ed 103.1
All things both in heaven and in earth declare that the great law of life is a law of service. The infinite Father ministers to the life of every living thing. Christ came to the earth “as He that serveth.” Luke 22:27. The angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Hebrews 1:14. The same law of service is written upon all things in nature. The birds of the air, the beasts of the field, the trees of the forest, the leaves, the grass, and the flowers, the sun in the heavens and the stars of light—all have their ministry. Lake and ocean, river and water spring—each takes to give. Ed 103.2Read in context »
“He that is greatest among you,” He said, “let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For ... I am among you as he that serveth.” Luke 22:26, 27. Ed 268.1
Love and loyalty to Christ are the spring of all true service. In the heart touched by His love, there is begotten a desire to work for Him. Let this desire be encouraged and rightly guided. Whether in the home, the neighborhood, or the school, the presence of the poor, the afflicted, the ignorant, or the unfortunate should be regarded, not as a misfortune, but as affording precious opportunity for service. Ed 268.2
In this work, as in every other, skill is gained in the work itself. It is by training in the common duties of life and in ministry to the needy and suffering, that efficiency is assured. Without this the best-meant efforts are often useless and even harmful. It is in the water, not on the land, that men learn to swim. Ed 268.3Read in context »