The Servant (By Chris Barnes)
What does it mean to serve others?
Isaiah and the other prophets frequently portrayed the character of the Messiah as that of a servant:
Look at my servant, who I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. (Isaiah 42:1)
See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. (52:13)
My righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. (53:11)
This servant who would suffer for his people came in full view in Jesus Christ, who, “though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine priviledges; he took the humble position of a slave” (Philippians 2: 6-7).
In the most supreme act of condescension of all time, the one who should be served became the servant. He carried out ordinary tasks including carrying water from the well for his mother, feeding the animals, cleaning up in the carpenter’s shop. As his ministry began, he served the sick, the outcast, the hungry and the heartbroken.
But the supreme servant was perhaps never as clearly in view as he was the night before he was crucified. “He got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him” (John 13: 4-5).
When the disciples entered the room that night, none of them wanted to pick up the bowl and the towel, which was the task of the slave or servant. But they all had dirty feet that needed to be washed, so Jesus, bearing the heaviness of what was ahead, got down on the floor and washed their feet. Certainly he was filled with anguish over what lay ahead, and still he “took the humble position of a slave,” serving others when he deserved to be served.
With Jesus as our supreme example let us ask ourselves; what does it mean to serve others?
Prayer – Servant Jesus, you have given me an example to follow. As I fix my eyes on you, help me to find the grace I need to forsake my prideful perch and lower myself to serve my brothers and sisters as well as all those in need. Help me to understand the values of your Kingdom and my role as an Ambassador of your Kingdom.
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.