Isaiah is considered among the greatest of the Old Testament prophets because of his many predictions of the Messiah. For instance, you’ve probably heard this one during the Christmas season:
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
What most people don’t notice is that Isaiah uses the word servant several times to describe the nature of Jesus’ earthly ministry. For example, He wrote, “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights!” and “Behold, My Servant… shall be exalted and extolled and be very high” (42:1; 52:13).
Jesus was the Son of God, yet he was the ultimate servant. Perhaps my favorite verse about our Lord is Matthew 20:28: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” One thing that touches my heart about this truth is that it is written in the book of Matthew, and Matthew is the Gospel that also most exalts Jesus, as Messiah, the King! Yet, we read that serving was a strong quality in King Jesus’ life – a priority and a way of life for Him.
We are seeing much of this servanthood today all around the world: emergency responders, medical professionals, utility workers, cashiers and stockers, gas station attendants, chefs, teachers working remotely, governors, and our very own president. They are all working long hours in the face of a pandemic like none of us have ever seen before. They do it to serve their fellow man. They could stay home out of fear, but most are not.
The Bible tells us that Jesus, very early in His ministry, was “tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1-11). With each temptation, Jesus resisted Satan by quoting Scripture. Satan’s last enticement was a trade-off of power and glory if Jesus would fall down and worship Satan. Jesus replied to the devil, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (verse 10).
We serve a great and mighty God. We will overcome this challenging time by holding on to the promises of His word and by following his commandments to love our neighbor as ourselves and to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind.
As a believer in Christ, each and every day offers an opportunity to love the Lord with all your heart. But, especially in these trying times and in the days before Easter, take time to read again the story of His servanthood and sacrifice for you in Luke 22, 23, 24.
Lord, help us to overcome our own selfish desires and instead, model our life after You in service to others. Amen.
There is much we can learn from His perfect life example: His generosity in caring for the needs of others, the abundance of His kindness and forgiveness even to His enemies, His persistence in watching over His own, and His willingness to give His all even though He had nothing.
Open your heart and behold the greatest man—and servant—who ever lived and modeled what it means to serve and sacrifice.
As you consider the character quality of service, give praise to God that Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior of the World, came first as a lowly servant.