God’s Slave

Though He could have continued to exercise dominion in heaven with His Father, the Son of God chose to become a servant on earth among men. Jesus Himself said, “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 man” (Matthew 20:26-28). He did not serve sin, for He was intrinsically holy. Nor did He submit to Satan; instead, he routed the Tempter with the word of God. Even less did He conform to the customs of the corrupt world in which He lived, but constantly challenged people with His total commitment to God’s will. He did serve God, however, always doing what pleased His Father. His life of service flowed from His submission to the Father. He gave Himself totally to the work of the kingdom – preaching, teaching, healing, casting out demons. He turned away no one who begged for help, worked Himself into extreme fatigue, and then even welcomed the crowds who followed Him to a place where He had planned to take a rest (Mark 6:31-44). He never sought to please Himself, but suffered rejection and reproach in order to deliver us from our sins (Romans 15:1-3). He lived for others. Indeed, He became a servant before He became a man, as this text shows. He entered this world, filled as it is with fierce competition for power and position, intending to live like a slave. He thus fulfilled the ancient prophecies, “Behold, My servant…” (Isaiah 42:1-4; 52:14-53:12). Yes, let us daily “behold” Him with adoration! Philippians 2:7 Behold the Man! But emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. The Son of God “emptied Himself” by coming to us in the role of a servant, not a sovereign, and He did this by becoming a man, Jesus. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14. “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same” (Hebrews 2:14). As the unique God-man, Jesus fully shared our nature. He possessed a human mind, will and body. He knew the pangs of hunger after fasting for more than a month. His weariness plunged Him into profound slumber in the midst of the stormy lake. He was no stranger to the full range of normal emotions: Anger towards wickedness, meanness, and hypocrisy; frustration with persistent unbelief; joy over the advance of the kingdom of God; sympathy for the suffering; grief in the face of loss. As a man, He lived under the authority of sinners. He learned obedience as a child, and submitted always to both the religious Law of Moses and the secular law of Herod and Augustus. He was “born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who are under the Law” (Galatians 4:4). He worked hard, first as a carpenter and then as an itinerant preacher, teacher, trainer, and healer. Most important, He was “tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15), and thus He is able to sympathize with us. What a wonder, that the eternal, blessed, and glorious Son of God should humble Himself to become a finite man in a fallen world!