READ: Proverbs 14, Luke 2, 1 John 2
JESUS IS NOT OUR SERVANT
The incarnation is powerful because it is so unexpected. Who would have thought God Almighty would come to earth as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes (Luke 2:12)? We have become a little too comfortable with the anomalies of God–incarnation being one, servanthood being the other. God is not man and God is not a servant. The shocking fact that God became man and that He served should terrify us as much as it comforts us.
It is somewhat ludicrous to call Jesus a servant-king. The danger in reducing Jesus to this hyphenated nonsense is that it leads us to consider Him as our genie, existing to meet our needs and do whatever we command. This is insulting to the character of God; it does not reflect the eternity of Jesus; and it is not representative of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Let us step back and examine this servant motif in the Scriptures: God does not exist in eternity (past or present) to serve man. The God of the Old Testament (and God does not change) is servant to no one. The God who will come again at the trumpet blast comes to rule and reign, comes to be served. The suffering servant of Isaiah and the proclamation of Christ, “I did not come to be served but to serve,” is directly and ONLY linked to the cross, to giving His life “for the ransom of many.”
Even Jesus earthly ministry was not characterized by service. Jesus gave orders. Jesus commanded. Jesus did not make decisions by consensus. He demanded obedience. The girding of a towel to wash His disciples feet was alarming because it had never happened before. Jesus’ disciples served Him for three solid years; Jesus did not traipse around Judea and Galilee serving Judas and Peter and James. They served Him. The New Testament God is very much a God to be served and obeyed. This is how we know and love Him John says–by obeying Him (1 John 2:3, 5). Jesus as servant hermeneutically means only one thing: the Son obeyed the Father. To consider Jesus our servant (even by expectation of the wishes He fulfills for us) is blasphemy.
A common error in mission is to consider our work as a continuation of what Jesus has done. We do not; we are not little messiahs. There is one Christ and His work on the cross is done. Our work is to point to Him. There is a discontinuity in our mission; thus, the model for missions is not Jesus, but Paul. Jesus atoned for sin. Paul made disciples and planted churches. In the same vein, we do not serve as Jesus served. Jesus served by going to the cross. Jesus is not a peer serving a peer, nor is He a finite human leading other humans. We will never serve in the way Jesus served, for He did not serve in the way we want Him to now serve us. He is unalterably, eternally King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus is in no way the servant of man. By all means let us serve one another, but let us not demand God serve us.