Luke 22:24
And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
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(24) And there was also a strife among them.—The incident that follows is peculiar to St. Luke. The noun which he uses for “strife” does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, but the corresponding adjective meets us in the “contentious” of 1Corinthians 11:16. The dispute was apparently the sequel of many previous debates of the same kind, as, e.g., in Luke 9:46; Matthew 18:1; Mark 9:34; and the prayer of the two sons of Zebedee (Matthew 20:23; Mark 10:37). What had just passed probably led to its revival. Who was greatest? Was it Peter, to whom had been promised the keys of the kingdom, or John, who reclined on the Master’s bosom, or Andrew, who had been first-called? Even the disciples who were in the second group of the Twelve, might have cherished the hope that those who had been thus rebuked for their ambition or their want of faith had left a place vacant to which they might now hopefully aspire.



Luke 22:24 - Luke 22:37

It was blameworthy, but only too natural, that, while Christ’s heart was full of His approaching sufferings, the Apostles should be squabbling about their respective dignity. They thought that the half-understood predictions pointed to a brief struggle immediately preceding the establishment of the kingdom, and they wished to have their rank settled in advance. Possibly, too, they had been disputing as to whose office was the menial task of presenting the basin for foot-washing. So little did the first partakers of the Lord’s Supper ‘discern the Lord’s body,’ and so little did His most loving friends share His sorrows.

I. Our Lord was not so absorbed in His anticipations of the near Cross as to be unobservant of the wrangling among the Apostles.

Even then His heart was enough at leisure from itself to observe, to pity, and to help. So He at once turns to deal with the false ideas of greatness betrayed by the dispute. The world’s notion is that the true use and exercise of superiority is to lord it over others. Tyrants are flattered by the title of benefactor, which they do not deserve, but the giving of which shows that, even in the world, some trace of the true conception lingers. It was sadly true, at that time, that power was used for selfish ends, and generally meant oppression. One Egyptian king, who bore the title Benefactor, was popularly known as Malefactor, and many another old-world monarch deserved a like name.

Jesus lays down the law for His followers as being the exact opposite of the world’s notion. Dignity and pre-eminence carry obligations to serve. In His kingdom power is to be used to help others, not to glorify oneself. In other sayings of Christ’s, service is declared to be the way to become great in the kingdom, but here the matter is taken up at another point, and greatness, already attained on whatever grounds, is commanded to be turned to its proper use. The way to become great is to become small, and to serve. The right use of greatness is to become a servant. That has become a familiar commonplace now, but its recognition as the law for civic and other dignity is all but entirely owing to Christianity. What conception of such a use of power has the Sultan of Turkey, or the petty tyrants of heathen lands? The worst of European rulers have to make pretence to be guided by this law; and even the Pope calls himself ‘the servant of servants.’

It is a commonplace, but like many another axiom, universal acceptance and almost as universal neglect are its fate. Ingrained selfishness fights against it. Men admire it as a beautiful saying, and how many of us take it as our life’s guide? We condemn the rulers of old who wrung wealth out of their people and neglected every duty; but what of our own use of the fraction of power we possess, or our own demeanour to our inferiors in world or church? Have all the occupants of royal thrones or presidential chairs, all peers, members of Parliament, senators, and congressmen, used their position for the public weal? Do we regard ours as a trust to be administered for others? Do we feel the weight of our crown, or are we taken up with its jewels, and proud of ourselves for it? Christ’s pathetic words, giving Himself as the example of greatness that serves, are best understood as referring to His wonderful act of washing the disciples’ feet. Luke does not record it, and probably did not know it, but how the words are lighted up if we bring them into connection with it!

II. Verses 28 to 30 naturally flow from the preceding.

They lift a corner of the veil, and show the rewards, when the heavenly form of the kingdom has come, of the right use of eminence in its earthly form. How pathetic a glimpse into Christ’s heart is given in that warm utterance of gratitude for the imperfect companionship of the Twelve! It reveals His loneliness, His yearning for a loving hand to grasp, His continual conflict with temptations to choose an easier way than that of the Cross. He has known all the pain of being alone, and feeling in vain for a sympathetic heart to lean on. He has had to resist temptation, not only in the desert at the beginning, or in Gethsemane at the end, but throughout His life. He treasures in His heart, and richly repays, even a little love dashed with much selfishness, and faithfulness broken by desertion. We do not often speak of the tempted Christ, or of the lonely Christ, or of the grateful Christ, but in these great words we see Him as being all these.

The rewards promised point onwards to the perfecting of the kingdom in the future life. We notice the profound thought that the kingdom which His servants are to inherit is conferred on them, ‘as My Father hath appointed unto Me,’-that is, that it is a kingdom won by suffering and service, and wielded by gentleness and for others. ‘If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.’ The characteristics of the future royalty of Christ’s servants are given in highly figurative language. A state of which we have no experience can only be revealed under forms drawn from experience; but these are only far-off approximations, and cannot be pressed.

The sacred Last Supper suggested one metaphor. It was the last on earth, but its sanctity would be renewed in heaven, and sadness and separation and the following grief would not mar the perfect, perpetual, joyful feast. What dim visions of rule and delegated authority may lie in the other promise of judging the twelve tribes of Israel, we must wait till we go to that world to understand. But this is clear, that continuing with Jesus here leads to everlasting companionship hereafter, in which all desires shall be satisfied, and we shall share in His authority and be representatives of His glory.

III. But Jesus abruptly recalls Himself and the Twelve from these remoter prospects of bliss to the nearer future of trial and separation.

The solemn warning to Peter follows with startling suddenness. Why should they be fighting about precedence when they were on the verge of the sorest trial of their constancy? And as for Peter, who had, no doubt, not been the least loud-voiced in the strife, he needed most of all to be sobered. Our narrow limits forbid our doing even partial justice to the scene with him; but we note the significant use of the old name ‘Simon,’ reminding the Apostle of his human weakness, and its repetition, giving emphasis to the address.

We note, too, the partial withdrawal of the veil which hides the spirit world from us, in the distinct declaration of the agency of a personal tempter, whose power is limited, though his malice is boundless, and who had to obtain God’s permission ere he could tempt. His sieve is made to let the wheat through, and to retain the chaff. It will be hard to empty this saying of its force. Christ taught the existence and operation of Satan; but He taught, too, that He Himself was Satan’s victorious antagonist and our prevailing intercessor. He is so still. He does not seek to avert conflict from us, but prays that our faith fail not, and Himself, too, fulfils the prayer by strengthening us.

Faith, then, conquers, and withstands Satan’s sifting. If it holds out, we shall not fall, though all the winds howl round us. We are not passive between the two antagonists, but have to take our share in the struggle. Partial failures may be followed by recovery, and even tend to increase our power to strengthen other tempted ones, by the experience gained of our own weakness, which deepens humility and forbearance with others’ faults, and by the experience of Christ’s strength, which makes us able to direct them to the source of all safety.

Peter’s passionate avowal of readiness to bear anything, if only he was with Christ, is the genuine utterance of a warm impulsive heart, which took too little heed of Christ’s solemn warning, and fancied that the tide of present feeling would always run as strong as now. Emotion fluctuates. Steadfast devotion is chary of mortgaging the future by promises. He who knows himself is slow to say, ‘I will,’ for he knows that ‘Oh that I may!’ is fitter for his weakness. Very likely, if Peter had been offered fetters or the scaffold then and there, he would have accepted them bravely; but it was a different thing in the raw, cold morning, after an agitating night, and the Master away at the far end of the great hall. A flippant maid’s tongue was enough to finish him then.

It is sometimes easier to bear a great load for Christ than a small one. Some of us could be martyrs at the stake more easily than confessors among sneering neighbours. Jesus had spared the Apostle in the former warning of his fall, but He spoke plainly at last, since the former had been ineffectual; and He addressed him by his new name of Peter, as if to heighten the sin of denial by recalling the privileges bestowed.

IV. The last part of the passage deals with the new conditions consequent on Christ’s departure.

The Twelve had been exempt from the care of providing for themselves while He was with them, but now they are to be launched into the world alone, like fledglings from the nest. Not that His presence is not with them or with us, but that His absence throws the task of providing for wants and guarding against dangers on themselves, as had not been the case during the blessed years of companionship. Hence the injunctions in verse 36 lay down the permanent law for the Church, while verse 37 assigns as its reason the speedy fulfilment of the prophecies of Messiah’s sufferings.

Substantially the meaning of the whole is: ‘I am on the point of leaving you, and, when I am gone, you must use common-sense means for provision and protection. I provided for you while I was here, without your co-operation. Remember how I did so, and trust Me to provide in future, through your co-operation.’

The life of faith does not exclude ordinary prudence and the use of appropriate means. It is more in accord with Christ’s mind to have a purse to keep money in, and a wallet for food-stores, than to go out, as some good people do, saying, ‘The Lord will provide.’ Yes, He will; but it will be by blessing your common-sense and effort. As to the difficulty felt in the injunction to buy a sword, our Lord would be contradicting His whole teaching if He was here commanding the use of arms for the defence of His servants or the promotion of His kingdom. That He did not mean literal swords is plain from His answer to the Apostles, who produced the formidable armament of two.

‘It is enough.’ A couple are plenty to fight the Roman Empire with. Yes, two too many, as was soon seen. The expression is plainly an intensely energetic metaphor, taking line with purse and scrip. The plain meaning of the whole is that we are called on to provide necessary means of provision and defence, which He will bless. The only sword permitted to His followers is the sword of the Spirit.

Luke 22:24-27. And there was also a strife among them, &c. — Of the kind of contentions here spoken of there are two instances recorded by the evangelists, evidently different from each other, and each attended with very different circumstances. The former is mentioned by Matthew 18:1-4; by Mark 9:33-37; and by Luke 9:46. This certainly is not that here referred to. The other, recorded Matthew 20:20, &c.; and Mark 10:35, &c., is thought, by most commentators, to be that which Luke here speaks of. See the notes on these two last mentioned passages. Some, however, are of opinion, that a third contention of a similar kind arose among the disciples, at this last paschal supper which our Lord ate with them; and that it arose from some expressions which he dropped respecting the glory of his heavenly kingdom, which the disciples erroneously interpreted of a glorious temporal kingdom, which they continued to expect him to erect. And it must be acknowledged, that the manner in which Luke introduces his account of this dispute here, favours this interpretation of the passage. For, immediately after he had informed us of the disciples beginning to inquire among themselves which of them it was that should betray Christ, he proceeds to say, And there was also a strife among them which of them should be accounted the greatest. Be this as it may, if it really was a third contention of the same sort with those which had occurred before, it appears that Christ composed it by the arguments which he had made use of for the same end formerly. For, he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, &c. — Among the Gentiles, they are reckoned the greatest men who have the greatest power, and who exercise it in the most absolute manner. Such, however, have at times affected the pompous title of benefactors, (ευραγεται, a surname which some of the kings of Egypt and Syria assumed,) and thereby have tacitly acknowledged that true greatness consists in goodness. But your greatness shall not be like theirs; shall not consist in temporal power over your fellow-creatures, or in honour or dignity among them, though it should be joined with an affectation of titles which denote qualities truly honourable. Whosoever desires to be great among you, let him be so by his humility and by his serviceableness to the rest, in imitation of me, your Master, whose greatness consists in this, that I am become the servant of you all. He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger — According to the manner of the Jews, the aged expected great service and submission from the young; and he that is chief — He that presides over the rest in any office of peculiar trust and influence; as he that doth serve — Let him be as humble and condescending as the servant. For whether is greater — Which of the two is naturally accounted greater by a stranger who happens to come in; he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? — That stands and waits upon the guests? Is not he that sitteth at meat? — Accounted greater? But I am among you as he that serveth — These words may, no doubt, have a respect to the whole of Christ’s life; yet they seem to refer more particularly to his having lately washed the disciples’ feet, as John informs us, John 13:14. See notes on Matthew 20:25; Matthew 20:28. “It seems to have been our Lord’s view,” says Dr. Campbell, “in these instructions, not only to check in his apostles all ambition of power, and every thing which savoured of a desire of superiority and dominion over their brethren; but also to restrain that species of vanity which is near akin to it, the affectation of distinction from titles of respect and dignity. Against this vice particularly the clause under consideration seems to be levelled. The reflection naturally suggested by it is, How little are any, the most pompous epithets which men can bestow, worthy the regard of a good man, who observes how vilely, through servility and flattery, they are sometimes prostituted on the most undeserving.”

22:21-38 How unbecoming is the worldly ambition of being the greatest, to the character of a follower of Jesus, who took upon him the form of a servant, and humbled himself to the death of the cross! In the way to eternal happiness, we must expect to be assaulted and sifted by Satan. If he cannot destroy, he will try to disgrace or distress us. Nothing more certainly forebodes a fall, in a professed follower of Christ, than self-confidence, with disregard to warnings, and contempt of danger. Unless we watch and pray always, we may be drawn in the course of the day into those sins which we were in the morning most resolved against. If believers were left to themselves, they would fall; but they are kept by the power of God, and the prayer of Christ. Our Lord gave notice of a very great change of circumstances now approaching. The disciples must not expect that their friends would be kind to them as they had been. Therefore, he that has a purse, let him take it, for he may need it. They must now expect that their enemies would be more fierce than they had been, and they would need weapons. At the time the apostles understood Christ to mean real weapons, but he spake only of the weapons of the spiritual warfare. The sword of the Spirit is the sword with which the disciples of Christ must furnish themselves.A strife - A contention or debate.

Which of them should be the greatest - The apostles, in common with the Jews generally, had supposed that the Messiah would come as a temporal prince, and in the manner of other princes of the earth - of course, that he would have officers of his government, ministers of state, etc. Their contention was founded on this expectation, and they were disputing which of them should be raised to the highest office. They had before had a similar contention. See Matthew 18:1; Matthew 20:20-28. Nothing can be more humiliating than that the disciples should have had "such" contentions, and in such a time and place. That just as Jesus was contemplating his own death, and laboring to prepare them for it, they should strive and contend about office and rank, shows how deeply seated is the love of power; how ambition will find its way into the most secret and sacred places; and how even the disciples of the meek and lowly Jesus are sometimes actuated by this most base and wicked feeling.

24-30. there was—or "had been," referring probably to some symptoms of the former strife which had reappeared, perhaps on seeing the whole paschal arrangements committed to two of the Twelve. (See on [1722]Mr 10:42-45.) Luke only taketh notice of this strife at the time of their being in the guest chamber. Such a strife we read of, Matthew 18:1 20:25,26 Mr 9:33 and in this Gospel, Luke 9:46; by which it is apparent, that they had been more than once arguing this point. But yet most interpreters think that it is here placed by Luke out of order and some translate egeneto in this text, there had been, not, there was; and indeed we can hardly think so uncharitably of the apostles, as to imagine of them, that immediately after their receiving, first the passover, then the Lord’s supper, their thoughts should be taken up with things of this nature, much less that they should discourse of any such subjects as these; especially also considering what our Saviour had told them, that he was betrayed into the hands of sinners. Something of our Saviour’s answer, pressing upon them brotherly love, and mutual serviceableness each to other, was very proper to this time, which our Saviour (though spoken before) might at this time repeat, and Luke prefactorily to it might take notice of this contest in this place.

And there was also a strife among them,.... The Persic version reads, "at a certain time there was a contention among the apostles"; and some think, that this refers to the time when the mother of Zebedee's two sons asked the favour of Christ, to set one of them at his right hand, and the other at his left, in his kingdom; which greatly incensed the other disciples, and occasioned a dispute about precedence; when our Lord interposed, and used much the same arguments as here; and which, it is thought, Luke here inserts out of the proper place. The Ethiopic version renders it, "then his disciples disputed among themselves"; pinning it down to this very time: and what might give occasion to the present dispute, may be what Christ had said concerning the kingdom of God, Luke 22:16 which they understanding of the temporal kingdom of the Messiah, and fancying, by his words, that it was near at hand, began to strive among themselves who should be the greatest in it; or it might be brought on by their inquiry among themselves, who should betray him, which might lead them on each one to throw off the imputation from himself, and to commend himself as a steady follower of Jesus, and to express his hopes of being his chief favourite, and principal minister in his kingdom: for the strife was,

which of them should be accounted the greatest; by Christ; or that should be so in his kingdom. Perhaps the contention might be chiefly between Peter, James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, and who were the favourite disciples of Christ; and Peter might urge his seniority, and what Christ had said to him, Matthew 16:18 and the rather, since it is certain Satan was now busy about him; wherefore Christ calls him by name, and singles him out among the rest, Luke 22:31.

{8} And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

(8) The pastors are not called to rule but to serve.

Luke 22:24-30. Earlier fragments of discourses (Matthew 20:25 f., Luke 19:28; comp. Mark 10:42 ff.), for whose appropriateness in this place the occasion narrated by Luke, ἐγένετο δὲ καὶ φιλονεικία ἐν αὐτ., is neither psychologically probable, nor is it, from an historical point of view, adequately accounted for. Many have considered Luke 22:24 ff. as giving occasion to the footwashing (Paulus, Kuinoel, Sieffert, Lange, and others, including Strauss), which, however, would have any probability only if Luke placed the contest about precedence at the beginning of the meal. Nay, the already past footwashing, which, according to John, is to be assumed, only makes the situation of this contest about precedence in Luke still more improbable. That, moreover, only the association of ideas between the questions of Luke 22:23 and Luke 22:24 caused Luke to insert here this contest about precedence (Strauss, I. p. 723 f.; Holtzmann) is the more unfounded that Luke has already at Luke 9:46 related one dispute about precedence. Rather, he must have followed a definite tradition, which certainly may have taken its rise from the idea embodied in the story of the footwashing, and may have attracted here into a wrong position what is historically earlier.

δὲ καί] but also, in addition to that συζητεῖν.

δοκαῖ] is esteemed, Galatians 2:6. Bengel well says: “Quis sit omnium suffragiis.”

μείζων] of higher rank; to regard ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν as understood (Kuinoel and others) is an arbitrary proceeding, according to Matthew 18:1. Comp. on Luke 9:46; Mark 9:33.

Luke 22:25. τῶν ἐθνῶν] of the Gentiles.

οἱ ἐξουσιάζ. αὐτ.] These are the magnates (Matthew 20:25), rulers of the Gentiles after their kings.

εὐεργέται, a title of honour: benefactors, i.e. of great merit in respect of the state, possibly in respect of the government (Herod. viii. 85). Comp. εὐεργέτην ἀπογραφῆναι, Herod. viii. 85; Thuc. i. 129. 3; Xen. Rep. Ath. iii. 11; Lys. Proverbs Polystr. 19. ψηφίζεσθαί τινι εὐεργεσίαν, Dem. 475.10; Wolf, Lept. p. 282; Meier, de proxenia, Hal. 1843, p. 10, 15; Hermann, Staatsalterth. § 116. 6. Similarly our “Excellencies.”

Luke 22:26. οὐχ οὕτως] It is sufficient to supply ἐστέ (others take ποιεῖτε). See what follows. Ye are not to be thus, as that one should let himself be distinguished in rank from the others.

ὁ μείζων] not: “qui cupit maximus esse,” Kuinoel, but: he that is greater among you, who really is so, let him condescend so as to place himself on an equality with the younger, and claim no more than he. ὁ νεώτερος does not mean the less, and does not refer to one in the circle of the twelve, but it means one who is younger than the others, and denotes a believing youth. It must be supposed that such were present, performing the service. Comp. the parallel διακονῶν. See also Acts 5:6; Acts 5:10.

ὁ ἡγούμενος] he who rules, standing at the head. Comp. Matthew 2:6; Acts 15:22; Hebrews 13:7; Hebrews 13:17; Hebrews 13:24; Hebrews 3 Esdr. Luke 8:44; 1Ma 9:30, and elsewhere. This use, moreover, is so frequent among the Greek writers (Dem. 654. 22; Soph. Phil. 386; Polyb. i. 15. 4, 31. 1, iii. 4. 6; Herodian, vii. 1. 22; Lucian, Alex. 44; Diod. Sic. i. 72), and the designation is so general, that the expression does not need to be derived actually from later times (Lipsius, de Clem. Rom. Ep. p. 29).

Luke 22:27. To this condescending renunciation my example engages you. For although I stand to you in the relation of the ἀνακείμενος to the διακόνοις, yet I bear myself in the midst of you no otherwise than as if I were your servant. The reference to the footwashing, which has been here assumed (even by de Wette and Bleek), could not be expected by Luke to be discovered by any reader. It is, moreover, superfluous; for the present repast might of itself give sufficient occasion for the designation of the relation by means of ἀνακείμ. and διάκον., and Jesus was in the highest sense of self-surrender actually the διάκονος of His disciples, as this found its indelible expression just at this time in the distribution of the last supper. Comp. Matthew 20:28.

ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν] more significant (in the midst of you) than ἐν ὑμῖν; He did not separate Himself from them as one more distinguished than they.

Luke 22:28. ὑμεῖς δὲ κ.τ.λ.] in order now, after this humiliation of His disciples’ desire of precedence, to induce them to seek their true exaltation, to wit, by means of the assurance of their future dominion and honour in the kingdom, of the Messiah, He proceeds in such a way as to contrast with His relation to them (ἐγὼ δὲ ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν, Luke 22:27) their relation to Him (ὑμεῖς δὲμετ ̓ ἐμοῦ), as the recompense of which He then assures to them the Messianic glory: But ye are they who have continued with me in my temptations, etc. Erasmus aptly paraphrases the πειρασμούς: “quibus pater coelestis voluit exploratam ac spectatam esse meam obedientiam.” These were the many injuries, persecutions, snares, perils of life, etc. (comp. Hebrews 2:18; Hebrews 4:15), for the bitter experience of which neither πειρασμός nor διαμένειν are expressions too strong (in opposition to de Wette); the former in respect of its relative idea being not too strong, nor the latter, if we consider the contrast of the Messianic anticipations of the time.

Luke 22:29. κἀγώ] and I, on my part, as a recompense for it.

διατίθεμαι) I ordain for you (herewith) dominion, as my Father (in His counsel known to me) has ordained for me dominion—both in the kingdom of the Messiah. βασιλ. belongs to both verbs, not merely as a parenthesis, so that ἵνα κ.τ.λ. contains the object of διατίθεμαιὑμ. (Ewald, Bleek, and others), since Luke 22:30 contains the idea of the συμβασιλεύειν.

διατίθ. is not said of testamentary appointment (Er. Schmid, Alberti, Krebs; see Plat. Leg. ii. p. 922 B, E, 923 C; Dem. 1067. 1; Joseph. Antt. xiii. 16. 1; Arist. Pol. ii. 9), since the same meaning could not be retained in the second member, but in general dispono, I ordain for you (2 Chronicles 7:18; Genesis 15:18; 1Ma 1:11; Xen. Cyr. v. 2. 9, and elsewhere). On the idea, comp. 2 Timothy 2:12.

Luke 22:30. ἵνα] purpose of this assignment of dominion.

ἐπὶ τ. τραπ. μ] at the table takes place the eating and drinking. Comp. Luke 22:21. This is said not merely of the Messianic Passover (Luke 22:16; Luke 22:18), but of the Messianic table fellowship in general. Comp. Luke 13:29; Luke 22:24-30. Strife among the disciples. Cf. on chap. Luke 9:46.

24. And there was also a strife] Philoneikia, ‘an ambitious contention,’ occurs here only. It is probable that this dispute arose while they were taking their places at the couches (triclinia), and may possibly have been occasioned by some claim made by Judas for official precedence. He seems to have reclined on the left of our Lord, and John on the right, while Peter seems to have been at the top of the next mat or couch, at the left of Judas, across and behind whom he stretched forward to whisper his question to St John (John 13:23-24). For previous instances of this worldly ambition see Luke 9:46-48; Matthew 20:20-24.

Luke 22:24. Δὲ καὶ) Not merely the traitor, but also the Eleven, caused uneasiness (exhibited a spirit displeasing) to the Lord.—φιλονεικία, a strife) which was fraught with danger. Comp. Luke 22:31. [This contention must certainly have occurred within the city: and to the words which Jesus spake in order to allay it, Luke adds, besides other topics, the prediction concerning Peter’s subsequent denial of his Lord, which Matthew and Mark mention after His departure from the city.—Harm., p. 516]—τίς δοκεῖ, which of them appears, or is to be accounted) Who is (the greater) according to the suffrages of all.—μείζων) the greater, as (the one to be accounted) the first, the second, the third, etc. The question was not merely concerning the greatest.

Verses 24-30. - The jealousy, among the disciples. Verse 24. - And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. The Lord's words in these verses are peculiar to St. Luke. The strife among the disciples which suggested the Lord's corrective sayings was evidently no mere dispute as to precedence in their places at the supper, but some question as to their respective positions in the coming kingdom of which their Master had said so much in the course of his later instructions. It is closely connected with the "feet-washing" related at length by St. John (John 13:4-17). This has been well described as a parable in action, exhibited to illustrate forcibly the novel and sublime truth which he was teaching them, the world-teachers of the future, that in self sacrifice consisted the secret of true greatness. In the kingdom of heaven this would be found to be conspicuously the case. Luke 22:24A strife (φιλονεικία)

Properly, "an eager contention." Only here in New Testament.


Strictly, greater.

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