Most of my Christian life I’ve been told to be a “servant-leader”… to serve others first like Christ did, so others can see Him through my actions. An amazing illustration of this was when Christ knelt down before His disciples and washed their feet. This scene always pops into my head when I first think about how to be a servant leader, until I read Matthew 20.
This passage shows how Christ taught this characteristic throughout His ministry with the disciples. It was in the forefront of His mind because of what would be coming in the following weeks; Him giving Himself up as a sacrifice for the world. We see in Matthew 20 that His friends/followers, James and John, had their mom come up to Jesus and ask that they be given a special place of honor in the kingdom (v21). He replied with a thought provoking question; “Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?”(v22)
This bitter drink that was coming was His death on the cross…the most selfless action known to man…giving His life for the world. This sacrifice was something that needed to be done and He knew that. Despite the coming suffering, He still that it was the only way to save mankind from sin; the only way to offer redemption and eternal life.
In the context of James and John and their question, He continued to teach them how to serve one another; not looking for power or for recognition, but out of a heart simply full of love for the Savior and others. If they did it for the power, they were just like the world. But if they did it for each other out of agape love they were just like Christ.
If you want to lead, you must learn to serve. If you want to be elevated, you must humble yourself before others.
That is what Christ did for us. He humbled Himself to become a poor carpenter, a nomad and to die a criminal’s death to bring us life.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but TO SERVE, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” –Matt 20:28