If I have the picture right in my mind, they were feet people. The scenario Jesus speaks about in my reading this morning is one in which there are some reclining at a banquet table and others who are serving at the banquet table. The “recliners” are on their sides at the table, heads in and feet out. And those who minister to those at the table, well they’re feet people. That’s where they operate from . . . at the feet of the “recliners.” That’s where they serve the meal from . . . that’s where they pick up the dishes from. If they do any interacting with those at the table, it’s talking to them from their feet. That’s who Jesus exalts. Feet people.
It started with a dispute. The disciples were jockeying for position in the kingdom. Who would be regarded as the greatest? I imagine they were comparing credentials or accomplishments. Perhaps bragging about IQ or exemplary character traits. And Jesus interrupts their little debate:
And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the One who serves.”
(Luke 22:25-27 ESV)
Stop it! That’s kind of what Jesus says, Stop it!
You’re not getting the nature of the kingdom. You’re thinking like the world. It’s not about who lords over who . . . it won’t be about the perks one gets from being in authority. Instead, if you want to imagine “greatness” in the kingdom, think about how great a rookie is in a room full of experts . . . think about a servant in a room full of leaders. In the kingdom I’m talking about, says Jesus, the least is the greatest. The servant in the kingdom is the one who rules . . . even though he doesn’t.
And then Jesus focuses them on a more concrete example . . . Himself.
For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the One who serves.
Look at Me, says Jesus. I am King of the kingdom and yet I am serving you “recliners” at the table. I am feet people.
I’m guessing this encounter in Luke is in the context of Jesus washing the disciples feet found in John 13. That this debate of who would be the greatest, carried on before the One who created all things and sustains all things, happened shortly after the Creator had taken up a towel to clean His creation’s feet. And Jesus says, Stop it! You want to be great? Be great like Me. Be feet people.
Christ humbled Himself and took upon Himself the form of a servant. So should His followers. The Son of God thought not His glory something to be held on to, but divested Himself of His heavenly glory in order to become flesh and serve others. His followers need to let go of their perceived standing and do likewise. Jesus served at the feet of others. Shouldn’t we, as well?
Feet people . . . may that be us . . .
All because of grace . . . all for God’s glory.