Jesus, the Servant of God
Throughout time Almighty God has chosen men, and even nations sometimes, to be instruments and vessels of His heavenly will. They served to accomplish His purposes. For example, God’s servants the prophets proclaimed the message of God daily (Jeremiah 7:25). King Cyrus of Persia was God’s servant, too. God called him His shepherd, who was raised up to play a significant role in the remnant of Israel rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple (Isaiah 44:28; cf. II Chronicles 36:22, 23). There is one servant, though, who stands far above all of God’s servants – past, present and future. He surpasses them all in his calling, in his mission and in his glory. He is the Man Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Son of God.
Jesus took the form of a servant. Being in the form of God and equal with God, Jesus “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7). Although Jesus is Deity as the Son of God, He willingly became the servant of God to serve men. The word “form” should be understood as “nature of.” In this context it does not mean outward appearance or shape. The Divine One who possesses the very nature of Deity voluntarily clothed Himself with the nature of a servant. Jesus put on all the qualities and characteristics of a servant or slave. By doing His Father’s will, Jesus placed Himself at the service of mankind. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45). The purpose of a servant is to serve, to do for others. Jesus’ service entailed even paying the ransom for others with His own physical life. Now He did not cease to be Deity when He came to the earth, but He did manifest the nature of God in the nature of a servant.
The prophet Isaiah described the Messiah as God’s Servant. The emphasis of those prophecies was the work which the Messiah would accomplish according to God’s divine plan. God promised to put His Spirit upon His Chosen Servant, and then He would bring forth justice to the Gentiles and for truth (Isaiah 42:1-3). In the forty-ninth chapter of Isaiah, God foretold that His Servant would gather together the remnant of Israel to God, be a light to the Gentiles, and be God’s salvation to the ends of the earth (vv. 3-7). This Servant would deal prudently and then be exalted on high (52:13) because He will justify many by bearing their iniquities and interceding for transgressors (53:11, 12). Through these Scriptures we begin to understand the magnitude of the service of God’s Servant Jesus Christ. Truly, He came to serve, not to be served.
The life of our Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect example of what it means to be a servant of God. Christians have been predestined to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ, having been redeemed by His blood according to God’s grace. Having been called out of this sinful world, the elect are now sanctified to serve the Lord. A true servant focuses upon the will of another. Jesus always desired and sought do His Father’s will. “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” (John 5:30). Man struggles with the challenge of setting aside his own will, his own thoughts and his own feelings in order to uphold and to carry out the will of another. The mind of a servant of God seeks first and foremost the will of the heavenly Father.
A child of God must learn to submit because servitude involves submission. The Holy Spirit reveals that the Son of God learned obedience by the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). The example of our Lord submitting is not limited to the cruel suffering He willingly endured when He chose to walk the road which led to Golgotha. When Jesus was a boy, He already knew He was the Son of God. He once asked Mary and Joseph, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). Yet, Jesus continued to subject to His earthly parents (2:51) because it was the right thing to do. Children are to obey and honor their parents in the Lord (Ephesians 6:1, 2). A servant is not given the opportunity to pick and choose what he wants to do, but rather, is given tasks which he must complete. That means that even unpleasant and difficult tasks must be done. Jesus willingly drank the cup of suffering and death which His Father gave Him (Matthew 20:22).
The servant of God also sees the urgency of the service he is called upon to render. During His ministry Jesus often would forego his own physical needs to meet the spiritual needs of the lost. “The multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.” (Mark 3:20). On one occasion when the disciples urged Jesus to eat, He responded, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” (John 4:32). A servant waits on others; he does for others first before seeing to himself (cf. Luke 17:7, 8). Jesus understood better than anyone that time was of the essence in regard to the work He came to do. “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4, 5). We must not sleep but awake to the urgency of the service we are called upon to give during our lives.
The servant of God is genuinely concerned about God’s business, not his own, and willingly submits to the Lord’s will and word in everything in order that he may use each opportunity to its fullest.