The Meaning of Luke 22:27 Explained

Luke 22:27

KJV: 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.

YLT: for who is greater? he who is reclining (at meat), or he who is ministering? is it not he who is reclining (at meat)? and I -- I am in your midst as he who is ministering.

Darby: For which is greater, he that is at table or he that serves? Is not he that is at table? But I am in the midst of you as the one that serves.

ASV: For which is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am in the midst of you as he that serveth.

What does Luke 22:27 Mean?

Verse Meaning

In the ancient Near East the person waited on at dinner had a higher social position than the waiter who served him or her. The waiter was often a slave. Jesus had behaved as a slave (Gr. diakonon, one who serves in a lowly way) by serving others, even His disciples (cf. John 13:12-17). They should do likewise. If serving was not below their Master, it should not be below His servants. They should seek opportunities for service rather than status, and they should emulate their Lord rather than pagans.
This lesson is vital for all disciples. Luke"s Gentile readers would have been in need of it since they lived in a culture in which pagan values dominated life, as we do.

Context Summary

Luke 22:24-34 - Disciples Who Grieve Their Lord
It is probable that this dispute about priority took place on their entering the supper room. It could hardly have taken place after the tender scene of John 13:1-38. But doubtless the irritated feelings which that contention engendered prepared the way for the testing, sifting and ultimate fall of Peter. It is the little waves that eventually become the mighty billows which wreck the big ships and engulf human lives.
Satan cannot assail us until he has asked and obtained permission, Luke 22:31. God does not tempt, though He permits us to be tempted, as in the case of Job; but with the temptation there is always a way of escape, if we wait on Him, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13. How often does our Lord anticipate our trial hours by His prayers, Luke 22:32! We owe it to them, either that we do not fall, or that, having fallen, we turn back. This is the best use we can make even of our failures; they teach us humility, pity, and how to help others. How little do we know ourselves! See Luke 22:33-34. [source]

Chapter Summary: Luke 22

1  The leaders conspire against Jesus
3  Satan prepares Judas to betray him
7  The apostles prepare the Passover
19  Jesus institutes his holy supper;
21  covertly foretells of the traitor;
24  rebukes the rest of his apostles from ambition;
31  assures Peter his faith should not fail;
34  and yet he should deny him thrice
39  He prays in the mount, and sweats blood;
47  is betrayed with a kiss;
50  he heals Malchus' ear;
54  he is thrice denied by Peter;
63  shamefully abused;
66  and confesses himself to be the Son of God

Greek Commentary for Luke 22:27

But I [Εγω δε]
Jesus dares to cite his own conduct, though their leader, to prove his point and to put a stop to their jealous contention for the chief place at this very feast, a wrangling that kept up till Jesus had to arise and give them the object lesson of humility by washing their feet (John 13:1-20). [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Luke 22:27

Acts 11:6 I considered []
See on Matthew 7:3; Luke 22:24, Luke 22:27. [source]
Philippians 2:7 Was made in the likeness of men [ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος]
Lit., becoming in, etc. Notice the choice of the verb, not was, but became: entered into a new state. Likeness. The word does not imply the reality of our Lord's humanity, μορφή formimplied the reality of His deity. That fact is stated in the form of a servant. Neither is εἰκών imageemployed, which, for our purposes, implies substantially the same as μορφή . See on Colossians 1:15. As form of a servant exhibits the inmost reality of Christ's condition as a servant - that He became really and essentially the servant of men (Luke 22:27) - so likeness of men expresses the fact that His mode of manifestation resembled what men are. This leaves room for the assumption of another side of His nature - the divine - in the likeness of which He did not appear. As He appealed to men, He was like themselves, with a real likeness; but this likeness to men did not express His whole self. The totality of His being could not appear to men, for that involved the form of God. Hence the apostle views Him solely as He could appear to men. All that was possible was a real and complete likeness to humanity. What He was essentially and eternally could not enter into His human mode of existence. Humanly He was like men, but regarded with reference to His whole self, He was not identical with man, because there was an element of His personality which did not dwell in them - equality with God. Hence the statement of His human manifestation is necessarily limited by this fact, and is confined to likeness and does not extend to identity. “To affirm likeness is at once to assert similarity and to deny sameness ” (Dickson). See on Romans 8:3. [source]
1 Thessalonians 2:7 Among you [ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν]
Better, and more literally, in the midst of you, which implies more intimate intercourse than among you. Comp. Luke 22:27. [source]

What do the individual words in Luke 22:27 mean?

Who for [is] greater the [one] reclining or serving [Is] not I however in [the] midst of you am as
τίς γὰρ μείζων ἀνακείμενος διακονῶν οὐχὶ ἐγὼ δὲ ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν εἰμι ὡς

μείζων  [is]  greater 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular, Comparative
Root: μέγας  
Sense: great.
  the  [one] 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἀνακείμενος  reclining 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Middle or Passive, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἀνάκειμαι  
Sense: to lie at a table, eat together, dine.
διακονῶν  serving 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: διακονέω  
Sense: to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon.
οὐχὶ  [Is]  not 
Parse: IntPrtcl
Root: οὐχί  
Sense: not, by no means, not at all.
δὲ  however 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
μέσῳ  [the]  midst 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: μέσος  
Sense: middle.
ὑμῶν  of  you 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 2nd Person Plural
Root: σύ  
Sense: you.