Day Seven: The Bottom Line
Philippians 2:5-11; John 13:1-11
God’s response to the apostacy of Lucifer, and the temptation and fall of the human race, was to join together in forming the “counsel of peace” (Zechariah 6:13). The Godhead decided to send the Son to earth, to be born of a woman, born under the law, into sinful flesh, clothing His divinity with humanity, to represent the human race as High Priest (Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 2:17). In order to atone for the sins of humanity, He would “taste death for everyone” by dying on a lonely Cross (Hebrews 2:9).
Our question is, “What is servant leadership?” The answer is in the Cross. Read this carefully:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the Cross. Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).
Imagine a beautiful star, higher than the eye can see. The star blazes out, headed to this dark planet. Instead of bringing destruction, however, when the star impacts earth, it infuses us all with life and light. Then it heads back up into the highest heaven.
The path the star has traveled is the path of God’s perfect demonstration of Servant leadership. Jesus begins, equal with God, higher than the Highest, condescending step by step, until He impacts planet earth in a blaze of light we call the Cross. On the Cross Jesus “tasted death,” meaning the eternal death that comes as the result of sin—goodbye to life forever. He went to hell itself for us.
Notice the next word in the passage: Therefore. “Therefore” means “because of all this.” Because of all this self-sacrifice, because of the downward spiral of shame He suffered in our stead, “God has highly exalted Him.” God can’t stop being God, but in some mysterious way He surrendered the privileges, powers, and prerogatives of God to the Cross so that He could be exalted again, but this time on the basis of the character of love He revealed in giving everything. A servant leader builds others, leaving the building of themselves to God, Who, just as He raised Jesus, will raise us in due time.
That same Jesus, while on earth, took His disciples into the upper room, and while they shot each other dirty, resentful looks, aproned Himself with a towel and proceeded to wash all of their feet. Only servants washed feet in those days. Well, here He was, the Servant of Servants. The Servant Leader.
What is servant leadership? It is Jesus. Stand in awe.
As we behold the great sacrifice of the Son in dying, and the Father in giving the Son, we realize that our small sacrifices pale in comparison. Yet they count. They become a channel through which God can deliver a revelation of Himself to the world. He gives us the privilege of following in His footsteps and becoming the outshining of His glory.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you (John 13:14&15).
- If you were to wash the feet of the last person on earth whose feet you’d want to wash, who would that be? What impact do you think it would have upon you and the person?
- How does the infinite sacrifice made by God change your view of the personal sacrifices involved in being a servant leader?
- Does Jesus resent us for the sacrifices He has made for us? How do you see His attitude toward those for whom He died?
Think of practical ways you can “wash the feet” of those God has positioned you to lead. Do at least one small act of humble service a day.
Most wonderful Servant of All, You’ve inspired me with the story of Your great descent from the heights of heaven, which were Yours by right, to the depths of hell, which were mine by right. You were treated as I deserve that I might be treated as You deserve. I pray that I will treat You as You deserve, worshipping You for eternity for the great sacrifice You made for me. Make my infinitely smaller sacrifices a channel through which You can shine the light of Your gospel.