It would, however, not be strange if the position of privilege seated at the Supper next to Him granted by our Lord to the young disciple should have excited the disapproval of some members at least of the Apostolic Twelve. LUKE 22:21-34 -a passage of extra ordinary interest as appearing to offer a summary of the events of the fuller narrative contained in JOHN 13 -states in verse 24, "And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest". This is met by our Lord's words of reproof, in which "but I am among you as he that serveth" is the verbal summary with which the foot-washing of JOHN 13 corresponds as the acted parable. Occasion for the Apostle's strife as to precedence may...have arisen respecting the places at the Last Supper; but when we consider that the Twelve must presumably have sat at meals alone with their Master on many occasions, the reason why the strife should have arisen on this occasion of all others is not apparent. Supposing, however, that this time the circle was enlarged by admission of the young disciple or as we believe Lazarus, and that he was placed by our Lord next to Himself, it may be that we have found the cause of this outbreak of "this strife". Adopting this hypothesis, we seem to read our Lord's words of reproof with a new understanding. In the injunction "but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger" the young disciple John or Lazarus becomes the concrete example of "the younger", which seems almost to acquire the meaning, 'this youth' (cf. MARK 9:33-41 and parallels). Again, the point of verse 28 appears to stand out more clearly: 'But ye (Apostles, in contrast to this young disciple) are they which have continued with Me in My temptations; and I appoint unto you a kingdom, even as My Father hath appointed unto Me, that ye may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel'. These words, with all the fullness of promise which they undoubtedly contain, seem to be cast-with something like a touch of irony-in language adapted to appeal to the then condition of the Apostle's ideals.
...It may be added that the words "with the twelve" (MARK 14:17), "with the twelve" [disciples] (MATTHEW 26:20), "the twelve apostles with him" (LUKE 22:14), by no means exclude the presence of a non-Apostolic guest at the Supper (see MARK 9:35-36). The presence of John (as we picture him) or Lazarus as we picture him might well have seemed not to call for record. He may have counted for no more to the Apostles at that time than would nowadays a young scholar and thinker in the minds of men of practical ability holding high official positions in the Church.