Among the many examples Christ left behind for us is the example of a servant. Servants are not status seekers but rather display humility. Jesus came to serve and optimize servant leadership. All through his life, he was serving, and in future, when he returns he will serve his church.
One of the strongest examples of the servant attitude of Jesus was when he washed his disciples’ feet in John, chapter 13. By that act, he demonstrated that leadership is service to the people.
Jesus served his disciples during the last supper (Matthew 26:17-30; Mk.14:12-25; Lk.22:7-20).
He served humanity by his death on the cross. Christ’s life and death on the cross are the supreme examples of his commitment to being a servant.
On the cross, he served the robber who pleaded with him to remember him in his kingdom. “Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:42-43 – NKJV).
In three of the Gospels, Jesus sets out the characteristics of true servanthood:
“ For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 NIV).
“…I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38 NIV).
“For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:27 NIV).
Jesus points out in these three scriptures some truths about servanthood. He teaches that a real servant leader does not seek service for themselves; aims to serve others; does not propose to do his own will; does not promote himself.
The Apostle Paul had this to say about the servant role of Jesus, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6-7 NIV).
Jesus taught that greatness lies in serving others, “Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28 NIV).
Even more humbling is the fact that Jesus would serve those found watching when he returns, “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them” (Luke 12:37 NKJV).
He gave us gifts so that we may serve one another (Rom.12:7 NLT). Jesus died leaving us an example to follow in his footsteps. “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you…If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:15-17 NKJV). May we like Christ live to serve others.
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