Jesus just got done saying that He was going to die and that one of them was going to betray Him. So what did the disciples talk about next? Which one of them was the greatest! This is human nature to want to be at the top and ignore what is important. We think how silly that they were being so selfish, they were just being like us. They didn't seem to understand what Jesus was about to do. What are you major concerns today? When you look back 20 years from now will they seem like they were that big or such a small piece of life compared to God's kingdom. Our world structure is very different from God's structure. The greatest among us should be the least. Jesus was setting an example for us to follow. We are to serve others as Jesus would if He were here. There are many leaders who let power go to their head. They live in luxury and there is severe poverty in the streets. Some kings in ancient times called themselves benefactors, there were many who did not live up to that title. Jesus said that He conferred on them His kingdom. Confer means to bestow upon as a gift, favor, or honor. He has given us entrance to His home. Will you accept the invitation?
"Where humility should have abounded ambition intruded."
Let us copy our Lord:
- in cheerfully choosing to fulfill the most lowly offices
- in manifesting great lowliness of spirit and humility
- let self-sacrifice be the rule of existence
- in gladly bearing injustice rather than avenge ourselves or grieve others
- in selecting that place in which we receive least, and give most
v. 31-37 Jesus predicts Peter's denial. "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Peter replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with You to prison and to death." Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know Me." Then Jesus asked, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?" They replied that they lacked nothing. Jesus told 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. It is written: 'And He was numbered with the transgressors', and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in Me. Yes, what is written about Me is reaching its fulfillment."
As I recall there are only a few times in the bible that some one's name is said more than once, what an emphasis! Satan asked permission to sift Peter as if he was wheat. Do you see? Satan had to ask permission. When we are under God's protection then the enemy has to ask permission. If we are not under God then he does not need to ask, he will just go about his plan of destruction. To sift the wheat you have to loosen the chaff from the grain. In those days you put the grain on a stone floor and you beat it with a flail or had oxen crush it. This is what the enemy wants to do to you. He does not just want to separate you from God, he wants to annihilate you. The definition of annihilate: to reduce to utter ruin or nonexistence; destroy utterly, to destroy the collective existence or main body of; wipe out, to annul; make void, to defeat completely; vanquish. A flail is a wicked looking tool. It looks like a stick with different implements on the end; chains, spiked ball, or heavy wood. They were also used for war.
After Peter denied Jesus he would become a powerful leader. After we mess up and turn back to God that is when we are the most powerful. Only then we will know what depths we sunk and how far God came down to get us. Peter said he was ready for the ultimate sacrifice, yet he was not ready. Jesus told him that he would deny Jesus three times. How could Peter deny Jesus, you might be wondering. I don't know how many times or years I denied Jesus so I know how Peter felt. Judas and Peter both betrayed and denied Jesus, but only one repented. There is always hope to change. Jesus told the disciples that after He left they would need to be prepared. They would face hatred and persecution and to be ready by having a purse (money), bag (supplies) and sword (a good visual for the trials they would face in the future).