During the Last Supper, Jesus modeled the kingdom of God that he had been preaching throughout his earthly ministry. He chastised his disciples for arguing about who would be the “greatest:”He said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them and those in authority over them are addressed as ‘Benefactors’; but among you it shall not be so. Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. For who is greater: the one seated at table or the one who serves? Is it not the one seated at table? I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 25-27).
Jesus modeled servant leadership for his disciples not only at the Last Supper but throughout his entire ministry. Jesuit theologian and social justice advocate Fred Kammer identifies three dimensions of Jesus’ ministry that exemplify the Reign of God that Jesus announced. First, Jesus proclaimed “life-in-abundance” to the poor and an inclusive kingdom: a place where all are welcome. As Kammer states, “His persistent practice of fellowship meals with public sinners, tax collectors, and other outcasts not only rejects society’s taboos, but affirms the underlying goodness of all people, created in God’s image.” Second, Jesus modeled stewardship: “the proper use and sharing of the goods of creation.” And, finally, Jesus called everyone into the “covenant community.” As Kammer explains, “Those who belong to the band of Jesus will be, not his servants, but sisters and brothers, children of one God.”
On trial, Jesus is accused of claiming to be a king and of “inciting the people with his teaching” (Luke 23:2, 5). What would the world look like today if the people were (then and today) incited to live in the kingdom announced by Jesus in the manner modeled by Jesus?
Submitted by: N. Rademacher, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Religious Studies
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition© 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
See chapter two “A Year of Favor from the Lord” by Fred Kammer in Doing Faithjustice: An Introduction to Catholic Social Thought (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2004).