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The Servant of Sinners

Category Articles
Date October 21, 2002


His identity is the Lord, the Master and Sovereign of the Universe, but now there is something new, he is the one who in addition becomes a servant

by Geoff Thomas

How did the Son of God appear when he came to earth? Like Superman? No. An Emperor with a vast entourage and army? No. A golden tongued prophet who could make people weep or laugh at will? No. Paul says that when Christ came to earth, having made himself nothing, he took "the very nature of a servant". He is speaking of the Jesus who "is in very nature God", that is, that Christ possesses the image of God, and the likeness of God, and the glory of God. Everything that makes God God, Christ is that. Everything that makes the angels worship God, Christ is that. But Paul says that this Christ also becomes a real servant – as surely and as truly as he is God. To Lordship he adds servanthood. His identity is the Lord, the Master and Sovereign of the Universe, but now there is something new, he is the one who in addition becomes a servant.

Sit back and let this truth dawn on you. It is not that 2000 years ago Jesus Christ thought of himself as being God. He . . . is . . . God. He is infinite, eternal and unchangeable, the only God there is. Nor is it that he acted as if he were a servant: he served! God the Son took the basin of water and the towel; he knelt down and actually washed the filth off the feet of his disciples and then he rubbed their feet with his towel – drying between their toes! There was no pretense about his role. This was no tokenism. He wasn’t doing his servant thing. That was merely one of his acts of service. God actually becomes a doulos. Some of you know that word as the name of a ship that sails around the world taking with it Christian literature and education and a ministry of mercy, serving the world. The Greek word ‘doulos’ means a slave, and that is the word the apostle uses here

So God the Son is put in a role of obligation, where he is asked to perform certain duties which he has to complete just as his master requires. "Live in Joseph’s family in Nazareth," says his heavenly Master. "Yes, my God," says Jesus, and he carries out hourly tasks, helping at the table, carrying water from the well for his mother, feeding the animals, running errands, bearing all such daily responsibilities for parents, for baby brothers and sisters and for elderly neighbours down the street. Later, he serves the disciples whom he has chosen. When he meets his enemies head-on he must also love and serve them. His spirit is cheerful throughout all of this: "I delight to do thy will, O God," he cries joyfully, not as some obsequious lickspittle. All this time he is acting as our representative and our head and our surety and our substitute when he is the servant. For us he is fulfilling all the righteousness which we have failed to fulfil.

What a delightful fulfilled life it is to serve God. Christ Jesus was the happiest man in the whole world as he did the will of God. None had ever been happier, nor has been since that time. Blessed are the servants of the living God! Blessed is the Master they serve. I commend him to you to become your Master. Who are you serving? Everyone is a servant of something.

85 year-old Eric Hobsbawm is one of the most famous historians in Britain today with a impressive quartet of books on modern history from "The Age of Revolution" to "The Age of Extremes." His autobiography, called "Interesting Times" has just been published. He has been a communist for fifty years serving the cause of Karl Marx throughout all the shattering revelations of the corruption and tyranny of dialectical materialism in the 20th century. The triumph of socialism is still what he lives for. He is totally committed to that cause. He looks back in his book and he describes the hold the Communist Party had over him and his fellow members: "The Party . . . had the first, or more precisely, the only real claim on our lives. Its demands had absolute priority. We accepted its discipline and hierarchy. We accepted the absolute obligation to follow ‘the lines’ it proposed to us, even when we disagreed with it . . . We did what it ordered us to do . . . Whatever it had ordered, we would have obeyed . . . if the party ordered you to abandon your lover or spouse, you did so." Millions have served Marx like that, as millions serve Islam with the same fanaticism, and millions more serve pleasure and self. Everyone living for something, everyone of you, spending your lives serving some idol or other. No one free. God the Son came, and he put himself under the blessed God. In that service he found perfect freedom. Become a servant of God is an invitation to a life of perfect freedom.


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