Despite all that Jesus had shown and taught his disciples about humility, and in spite of the death he was about to die for them, they were still arguing about who was the greatest among them. Jesus reminded them again of the different standards in the earthly and heavenly kingdoms. He had given them an example in the way he lived among them, showing that true greatness lay in serving others (Luke 22:24-27). They had stood by him in all his trials, and he wanted them to maintain their loyalty through the time of his suffering and death. Their reward would be to share his rule in the triumphant kingdom (Luke 22:28-30).
Jesus knew, however, that they would all run away and leave him in his final hour. They would be like sheep who scatter in panic when the shepherd is killed. Peter boldly assured Jesus that though others might leave him, he would not. But Jesus knew Peter better than Peter knew himself. Peter would deny him, but the experience would teach him lessons that would remove his self-assurance and give him a new strength in God. After Jesus rose from death and returned to the father, Peter would be the one through whom the group of disciples would learn to be confident and courageous (Matt 26:31-35; Luke 22:31-34; John 13:36-38; cf. Acts 4:13-31; 5:17-32).
In figurative language Jesus then told them to prepare for the new life ahead. It would be much tougher than anything they had previously known or experienced; they would have difficulty just in preserving their lives (Luke 22:35-37). The disciples misunderstood Jesus’ words, but Jesus felt he had said enough on the matter for the time being, and he left them to think about it (Luke 22:38).