Who is the Greatest?

Who is the Greatest? could be used soon after At Caesarea Philippi, though it was not written for this purpose. The incident at Caesarea Philippi is well enough known for the mention to evoke its own memories. The affirmation of Jesus as Messiah, the Son of God, has implications for them that were hinted at in the previous drama. In spite of what Jesus has said about suffering and dying, they seem unable see their future in terms other than human greatness. So - who will be the greatest of them? Peter - the first to be called to follow? the one having just made this great affirmation? John - the "beloved disciple"? But why not Philip - the one with "no special claim for consideration" except just that?
Reader:Luke 9.37-45.
Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Capernaum. Peter, John and Philip were discussing the events of the past days - the things that Jesus had said and done...
PETER:He just said it again, Philip.
PHILIP:He did, Peter. "The Son of Man will be handed over to men who will kill him. Three days later, however, he will rise to life."
PETER:What do you think, John?
JOHN:I don't understand it at all, Peter. Remember how you said that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God?
PETER:Up at Caesarea Philippi.
PHILIP:What he's said just now doesn't make sense if he's really the Messiah!
JOHN:I think he said that before, didn't he, just after you said He is the Messiah?
PETER:You're right, but I didn't understand it then, and I still don't!
PHILIP:And I'm not game to ask him, either!
JOHN:I've been thinking lately that it's good for us that we've been picked as His disciples.
PHILIP:Can't you imagine what that means for us when he reveals himself publicly?
PETER:We'll have to go down to Jerusalem. He would have to take the throne of David there.
JOHN:That will put us in his inner cabinet!
PHILIP:Which one of us will be first in his Kingdom?
PETER:Well, I was the first one He called to follow him.
PHILIP:With Andrew.
JOHN:But I think I'm closest to him. I get to sit next to him at meals.
PETER:That's because you push in!
JOHN: I don't shove - anyway, Jesus doesn't mind me being close to him!
PHILIP:Your brother, James, is a bit pushy, too! Anyway, I think you're both wrong. If you've been listening to Jesus, I've got a better chance than either of you.
PHILIP:Yes, me!
PETER:Of all the extravagant, self-centred...
JOHN:Philip, admit it! You've got no special claim for consideration!
PHILIP:I think that, with Jesus, it may be to my advantage!
JOHN: I'm more clear, definite, out-spoken...
PETER:But don't forget what you said before!
JOHN:What do you mean?
PETER:You acknowledged that I was the one who said Jesus is the Messiah.
PHILIP:But you were speaking on behalf of all of us!
PETER:But I said it. I was the leader.
JOHN:But you - we - were saying something about Jesus, not about you.
PHILIP:And Jesus has made it clear that the power to open and shut is for all of us, not just for you!
JOHN:When Jesus called two of the sons of Zebedee, I knew it!
PHILIP:Knew what?
JOHN:Knew that I was to be the one on his right hand and James on his left in his Kingdom!
So the conversation continued. The other disciples heard it and were incensed. Each felt his own claim to be the greatest in the Kingdom.
Reader:Luke 9.46-48.

From Between the Lines. Dialogues for Worship by Peter J. Blackburn published by Testimonium Fellowship 1992, (c) Peter J. Blackburn.
Permission is given for copying of this document for local use with this copyright notice intact. For any other proposed use the specific permission of Peter J. Blackburn must be sought.

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