“I Am Among You as He That Serveth”
24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
“As the Holy Party prepare to recline on the couches around the Passover table, the flaring fires of strife are ignited, as we suppose, by Judas, whose spirit is evil and whose judgment is warped. It is over the age-old question, raised anew, that has caused strife and contention from the beginning of time. Who among them shall be accounted the greatest? Who shall have the place of honor at the table? For all such things do the Pharisees seek; and does not Judas have the same spirit as those with whom he is conspiring to shed innocent blood?
“But a short time before, when James and John and their mother sought to have Zebedee’s two sons chosen—to the indignation of the other disciples—to sit on Jesus’s right and left hand in His kingdom, our Lord had severely rebuked such strivings. It seems sad that at this solemn hour, when the precedence of the cross, if so it may be called, is coming into view, such a contention should arise again. Well might their feelings have been: Who will take precedence in suffering for His name now, that they may be named by Him before His Father hereafter? Yet, where there is an evil spirit, contention is ever found; and so Jesus patiently rehearses the old gospel verities over again:
“‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and they who exercise authority upon them, are called benefactors. But it ought not to be so with you; but he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he who is chief, as he who doth serve.
“‘For whether is he greater, who sitteth at meat, or he who serveth? I am not as he who sitteth at meat, but I am among you as he who serveth’ [JST, Luke 22:25–27].
“The servants of the Lord in all ages, even as with Him whom they serve, are to forget the honors of men and the glories of the world. Where now is the grandeur that was Greece and the glory that was Rome? Are those who held sway in any of the ancient empires anything more than handfuls of dead dust? What will it matter a few years hence what earthly honors were conferred by mortals on their fellows? Who will even remember tomorrow who sat where at what table? With the Lord’s servants, all strife over precedence must cease; theirs is a ministry of service and not of rulership. To this Jesus’s whole life and ministry attested.”
(The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [1979–81], 4:34–35.)