A dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Luke 22:24 (NIV)
It’s actually a relief to know that there were tensions even in our Lord’s own ministry team. The Twelve operated under the direct personal leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is easy to get the idea that if we all love Jesus, then there won’t ever be any tensions. But this is clearly not true.
So the first thing we can learn from this is not to get too discouraged if from time to time, there are tensions in the team. It is part of life, and it was through tensions like these that the Lord led the disciples to a whole new understanding of ministry.
Notice that the dispute was about “which of them was considered to be greatest” (22:24). Now it’s not difficult to picture how the discussion progressed:
- Jesus has just told them that one of the ministry team members would betray him.
- Then we read, “They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this” (22:23).
- After they debate for a while, someone says, “Well, it is fine talking about who is the most likely to fail, but isn’t it better to talk about who is most likely to succeed?”
- So they begin to talk about which member of the ministry team is most likely to have an outstanding ministry.
We do this sort of thing all the time: “She will make a marvelous mother! They will make a wonderful couple! He would be an awesome leader!” So they are talking together about who is most likely to count for something significant in the kingdom of God.
Have you experienced conflict in a Christian ministry? Were you surprised by it?