The greatest among you must be a servant.
Jewish culture held those who were educated and wealthy in high regard. It was common for the Teachers of religious law and the Pharisees to fall into this category. This group grew accustomed to the best seats at banquets, special treatment, and being served by others in general. Many of them used their influence to heap burdens on the people and hold them to standards they were neither willing to nor made an effort to maintain themselves. But Jesus had a way of turning everything people thought to be true on its head. Our verse for today is just one example of His ability to master this reversal. This was Jesus’ response to the hypocrisy of this group of the religious elite. They were a group of men who essentially said, ‘Do as I say.’ But Jesus not only called them out for the way they were living – he countered it and lived by example in a ‘Do as I do’ fashion.
Jesus never used His position as the Son of God to assert control over others. He instead assumed the role of a servant. He performed miracles – feeding thousands of people at a time. He healed the sick – touching and embracing those who culture had shunned. He was friends with what some would consider a rough crowd – approaching them with respect and gentleness. He was not harsh and He did not demand places of honor. He offered grace and forgiveness in His actions and words all through His life with the ultimate display of a servant’s heart in His surrender to the cross on our behalf.
He calls us to live likewise. What an honor it is to live that way because of what Jesus has done for us. How can you have a servant’s heart today?