Serving and Being Served
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” Matthew 20:28
Jesus came not to be served but to serve. Biblical authority is from the bottom up, not from the top down. The one who leads is on the bottom serving those over him, not on top demanding that others serve him.
Jesus made this quite clear when He heard the disciples arguing about who was to be the greatest in His kingdom.
It seems that James and John were standing aside while their mother was asking the Lord that one of them should be “Prime Minister” and the other “Secretary of State” (“these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom” – Matthew 20:21) in His kingdom.
Jesus caught on quickly and explained that they had missed the whole point of who is to be the greatest in His kingdom: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (vv. 25-28).
Yes, we have authority and we are to walk in that authority. But we are not to “exercise authority over” others. For example, Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands, but that word comes immediately following his admonition that husband and wife should submit to one another. Any time a husband says to his wife, “You are supposed to submit to me!” he has just moved away from the spirit of Jesus.
Jesus does not force us to submit, though He could do that, but He loves us into submission, voluntary submission, joyous submission.
Enjoy life! Walk as a servant to those around you.
Even if you are the “chief leader.” Emulate the Master.
And you will be continually filled with His joy.