The Pattern for Servanthood
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
In the world’s thinking, great men are the ones with authority, prominence, and power. Though Jesus Christ had all that, He laid it aside to become a servant (Isaiah 42:1).
Jesus gave Himself completely to fulfill the Father’s plan of redemption, even though the beneficiaries—namely, each of us—were undeserving. God, who is holy and righteous, has “eyes ... too pure to approve evil, and [He] can not look on wickedness with favor” (Habakkuk 1:13). But all of humanity is stained by wrongdoing (Romans 3:23); everybody is born captive to the desires of the flesh (Romans 6:16-18). When people claim to be living on their own terms, they are actually serving whatever their human nature craves. The penalty for that false sense of liberty is death (Romans 6:23).
Jesus’ ultimate act of service was to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). The word ransom describes the price paid to set a slave free—Christ voluntarily purchased our liberation. There was only one way our holy God could remove our guilt yet remain true to His own law: Someone sinless had to pay our sin debt for us.
Jesus’ sacrifice spared us the penalty we deserve. Instead, we receive the gift of grace and have been declared no longer guilty. Moreover, we are elevated from slaves to sons and daughters of the Almighty!
Jesus served the Father’s purpose faithfully. He gave up His righteousness to carry the weight of all our wickedness—and endured a crushing separation from His Father. To meet our needs, the Savior held nothing of Himself back and thereby set a powerful example of servanthood for us to follow.