Apostles arguing over who was the greatest among them


why did Jesus not just say “remember what I told Peter at Caesarea Phillipi? He’s the Rock, he’s the leader, he has absolute authority?” Instead, he talks about how the ones who try to exalt themselves are humbled, they should act as servants, and not to “lord it over the gentiles”.

It seems like Jesus could’ve ended the argument pretty quickly with just a little reminder, and yet he didn’t. :shrug: Also, the apostles should’ve understood the whole Isaiah prophecy, prime minister with the power to rule in place of the king stuff anyway.

Just trying to understand,


I interpret these passages in a different tone. There wasn’t much to do for fun in those days, so I understood it to be a light-hearted game than a heated debated.


Wouldn’t one not have to carefully parse he word “greatest”?:smiley:


because Jesus also said the greatest must become the least and that he came to serve… I think the point in Jesus not settling the argument is that they needed to humble themselves to serve man for him… not to get accolades from Jesus…


It’s an interesting point that I’d never considered, but I somehow doubt scripture supports it. I’ll have to go back and read the passage again some time.


This isn’t a matter of who has the greatest authority in His Church on earth, but who has the greater place in the Lord’s KINGDOM come to its fruition. Who will sit at His right and at His left in His Kingdom are those who most closely imitate Christ Jesus in His suffering and His redemptive service to humanity. This imitation of Christ is what brings people closer to Him in His Kingdom. St. Peter’s authority and those who follow in his place have the objective authority to govern the Church on earth; those who most closely resemble the Lord have the subjective superiority in sanctity - this may or may not be St. Peter and those with his authority who come after him.



*]1. The Apostles were slow to believe and slow to understand
*]2. These two - like Peter in Matthew’s account - overlooked the need for the Cross; they wanted to share in their Master’s honour, but may have overlooked the detail that in order to do so, they would first have to share His suffering.
*]3. Mark 8 & Matthew 16 both connect Peter’s confession with a warning of the need to follow Christ by taking up the cross.
*]4. BTW - Peter did not have absolute authority[/LIST]


This all sounds good, but if you check out the text (Luke 22:24-30), you’ll see that it is indeed discussing earthly authority. Thus, the original point stands – if Peter was already named greatest, why didn’t Jesus clarify this at this point? It seems wonderful (of wonder, amazement, etc) that he didn’t.


Are we seriously trying to figure out why Christ DIDNT say it more clearly? That seems silly to me - the bible is repleat with ambiguities with respect to many important points:John 3:5; John 6; etc, etc.
One argument would be that there was no need to be clear - He promised the Holy Spirit to come and lead them into all Truth, and that this is what the Church does to this day.
The OP argument that this was his chance to be clear on a point that would be contentious 1500 years later also has some validity, but given the fact that much of Scripture contains ambiguous language on what we currently deem “need to know” stuff sort of argues against it. I will save my Protestant siblings the trouble of pointing out that this failure of the second argument does not necessarily support the validity of the first.


Yea, Christ could have taken opportunity to clarify lots of things: Including his divinity by explicitly detailing the Trinity and him being God the Son.

As for the apostles, there were lots of things hindsight shows that they SHOULD have known, yet apparently didn’t. Virtually all of them split upon Christ’s arrest.

As for the greatest, Christ didn’t say that one was not greatest, that rather they were all equal, a perfect opportunity to do so. Personally, I think that position probably went to Mary, as for sitting at Christ’s right hand. The Church seems to have placed her there.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.