Let me tell you a little bit about myself: I want you to think I’m a great guy. Of course, I’m not as simple as Jesus’ disciples, who repeatedly jostled for position as the greatest and argued with one another over it. No, I’m a much more sophisticated sinner. I want to subtly manipulate you into thinking I’m the greatest. You know what would be a good way to do that? It’s if I could get you to serve me and do the things I want. Then I’d feel pretty good about myself.
Jesus didn’t do that.
42 …You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Now this is entirely other. I don’t get it! I don’t lead like this. I don’t think this way. Aren’t leaders supposed to be ordering others around and getting others to serve them? What is it that makes a slave so great, let alone a bleeding, miserable, naked man dying on a criminal’s cross?
It is stunning to think that the Almighty, Sovereign over heaven and earth, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, would think of Himself as a servant. Even when all is said and done, and the world has been re-created, sinless and pure…even then, in the final chapter of Revelation, Jesus Christ is called “the Lamb.” Not a conquering Lion (though He is that), but the Lamb who was slain, given as a ransom for many. For all eternity, we will sing the praises of Christ, but He will be glad to come to us as a servant, stooping down and washing our feet. He can’t bear to do otherwise; it is in His nature to give, to love, to wipe away tears. He gave all that He could give, bleeding out every last drop of love, dying on a filthy, wretched cross, that we should live in the pure and rich glory of the new heaven and the new earth.
Now that is the sort of thing that thrills my soul. It’s a little scary, too, because all of a sudden, God’s righteousness doesn’t look anything like me.