Marital Disputes

SDA JournalDevotional


Scripture: A dispute also started among them over which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 22:25 So Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 22:26 Not so with you; instead the one who is greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the one who serves. 22:27 For who is greater, the one who is seated at the table, or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. (Luke 22:24-27 NET)

Observation: Jesus is preparing to enjoy the Passover with His disciples, probably looking forward to spending this important annual celebration with them.  He had spent the last three-and-a-half years with them, and probably celebrated at least one other Passover with them, but this one was a very special one as it would be the last one. . . the last one where He would be physically present, the last one where all of them would be together celebrating it, the last one of real significance because with His death the Passover symbolism would be fulfilled I His own death on the cross.
     How disappointing and frustrating it must have been for Jesus, knowing the importance of this day, to see them still disputing as to who would be the greatest among them.  Jesus teaches them, through the words of our text for today and through His action of washing their feet, that in the Christian life he/she who desires to be the greatest has it all wrong by trying to be the greatest but should do his/her best to serve rather than be served.

Application: A lot of the marital discord stems from this desire to be the greatest.  This, of course, is nothing new.  Soon after the fall, God told Eve: “You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you” (Genesis 3:16b, NET).  One of the resulting effects of the entrance of sin into the world was the desire for supremacy, even among those who were literally one flesh, Adam and Eve.  God forewarned them that this dispute for control and for who would be the greatest would be present in marriage, and in society.  Unfortunately, because physically men are bigger, that control has been theirs to the point of total domination, slavery, and even abuse of women, both in society in general and inside marriage in particular.
     Jesus changes the paradigm and tells His disciples – which includes husbands and wives – that in His kingdom it is not the greatest the one who is served but rather the one who serves.  In marriage, then, we should look for ways to help and serve one another, starting with our spouse and children.  Imagine a world in which the husbands and wives work hard at outdoing each other in how they serve one another!  Well, Jesus says we should not only imagine such a world but that is His kingdom of which He wants us to be a part.
     Look for ways to serve your husband/wife out of love for them, but also out of love for Jesus.  They may not always act in a way that you think they deserve to be served, but it is at those times when you need to make an even greater effort to show them your love by practicing acts of service toward them.  The disciples sure were not acting very loving on that last Passover night, and they sure didn’t deserve to be served; but in His love for them, Jesus served them and “Having loved his own who were in the world, he now loved them to the very end” (John 13:1, NET).  Follow the example of Jesus, and love your spouse to the end.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, help us to love and serve one another to the end because by so doing we act as your disciples, because it shows Your spirit working in our hearts, and because by doing so we know Your love abides in us and in our marriage.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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