v 45. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
There is a massive difference between being a ‘Footie Fan’ (a keen watcher but who only occasionally kicks a ball if it comes in the right direction) and being a committed player who goes out training every evening. Just as there is a world of difference between undertaking occasional acts of service and living a life of total service. In order to redeem us from sin and bring us into a right relationship with His heavenly Father, Jesus had to sacrifice His own life. It was only through His once-for-all sacrificial death that we could ever have eternal life. But there was so much more to His life than this one unparalleled deed! He gave Himself daily to touch and redeem the whole of creation. The giving of His life as a sacrifice for sin was the supreme demonstration of His love, but the daily giving of Himself to serve others was the example He set for us to follow. We can do nothing whatever to add to His work of Redemption, but by our acts of selfless kindness we imitate His life and announce the good news that Jesus changes lives for the better.
Let’s stop and reflect however that such a change in our lives does not come about in an instant. Changes in the way we think, act and speak come about in small steps and require commitment to change – in some cases sacrificial change. It is not merely the taking on of some thoughtful action which is of benefit to others, but also the laying aside of self-interest to make space for kindness to be practiced.
In fact, Jesus’ words cut very deep into our self-interest. Read again v 44 ‘and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. ‘ The whole idea of being a slave to others seems utterly repugnant, but it speaks of the death of self-interest to serve the needs of another.
That is exactly the way Paul writes about Jesus Himself in Philippians 2:7, ‘He gave up his divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. ‘ For our sake, Jesus willingly let go of His divine privileges and became a slave to the needs of His creation. All of His self-interest died as He became the child in the manger, and then the suffering servant on the cross. The eternal needs of his creatures became of greater significance than His own status as the Son of God. From cradle to cross, Bethlehem to Calvary, Jesus was a Man like no other who saw His whole life as an act of redemptive service.