The One True God, Jesus, is our Suffering Servant
by Gini Crawford, MSW
Our Suffering Servant
A name of God that has always amazed me, is Servant. To be our Suffering Servant, Jesus Christ willingly went from the supremacy of His glorified state to the humiliating state of a man. Becoming a man Jesus set aside His rights, self-interests, glory, and splendor as the One True God, but He did not set aside His deity. I feel a lot of people don't really comprehend or even recognize the incredible humiliation that Jesus undertook to deal with us and our sins. If they did, why wouldn't the whole world be loving and serving the God, Who loves and serves them?
Do you wonder what Jesus looks like in His glorified state? Isaiah, a prophet, wrote the Old Testament book of Isaiah. He must have had a very close relationship with the One True God, because He saw amazing glimpses of Jesus Christ in His glorified state, as well as Jesus as our suffering servant. (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7, 52:13-53:12).
...I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim (angels) stood above Him... And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory..." Then I (Isaiah) said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined... For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts..." / These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him (Jesus). Isaiah 6:1-5; John 12:41 NASB®
What Jesus gave up
What Jesus gave up to be our Suffering Servant is best described in Philippians 2:6-8.
...who, although He (Jesus) existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. NASB®
The meaning of Philippians 2:6-8:
In Philippians 2:6 the phrase although He existed in the form of God - the Greek word form refers to the outward expression which a person gives of his inmost nature. In other words, form means nature and character, not shape, as we would think. This means Jesus is in the form of the One True God (John 14:7-11).
In Philippians 2:7 the phrase but emptied Himself - the Greek word emptied means to empty oneself, to divest oneself of rightful dignity by descending to an inferior condition, to abase or humiliate oneself.
In Philippians 2:7-8a the phrase taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man - means when Jesus took on the new inmost nature of a Man at His incarnation, His outward expression as a Man was that of a servant.
Just consider Who Jesus is, and then realize that He literally divested Himself of His glory, power and privilege as God, and voluntarily allowed Himself to be humiliated as our suffering servant to the point of even dying on the cross. This is an incredible reality that still amazes me. I don't know about you, but I try my best not to be humiliated. So the thought that the One True God was willing to be humiliated for me, humbles me. It makes me want to love and serve Him as He does me. You too?
It's important to understand: Jesus becoming Man didn't eliminate His deity. He had two natures after His incarnation, that of absolute deity and absolute humanity. After His resurrection, He laid aside His form as a suffering servant, but He still remains fully God and fully Man for the rest of eternity.
What are your thoughts on Philippians 2:6-8?
Jesus came to serve and not to be served.
In Matthew 20:17-28, Jesus was explaining to His 12 disciples how God measured greatness. They thought of greatness just like we think of greatness today, which is having wealth, prestige, and power over people. But Jesus contradicted their views on greatness, and stated greatness comes from being a servant, thinking of others first.. As Christians, we need to follow Jesus' example, and be great by serving too. (1 Peter 2:21-25, 5:5-6).
...just as the Son of Man (another name for Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28 NASB®
The comings of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ first came to this earth as a suffering servant, as we just learned. At His second coming to earth, He will be coming in all His glory and splendor, as King of kings and Lord of lords, to be our eternal sovereign ruler. One of Jesus' names is the Son of Man; this name emphasizes both His first coming to this earth that has already happened, and His second coming which is still in the future. (Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 22:20-21).
Being a servant for Jesus
Jesus Christ performs the most selfless of tasks in John chapter thirteen. His menial service of washing feet surprised His 12 disciples, because by then they knew Him as their teacher and Lord. When we reflect on Who Jesus is, and that the hosts in heaven instantaneously fall down and worship Him, I understand His disciples' surprise. Who would imagine the Creator, the Sovereign King of the universe, would stoop to serve us? Read John 8:6-11, 13:1-17; Revelation 1:5-8, 12-18, 5:8-14, 19:6-16.
Write down some insights about Jesus from these passages.
In John chapter thirteen Jesus states, you are blessed if you serve people, even the ones that are not pleasant to serve. Washing people's very dirty and smelly feet surely wasn't pleasant. Jesus washing His disciple's feet reminds me that I need to follow His example and serve. What about you?
Prayerfully think of ways and write them down, on how you can serve your family, friends, and others better.
I have a friend who has made some bad decisions which have greatly affected her life. It would be so much easier for me to just give up on our friendship, and I have thought of that, but if I did, I would not be a loving servant or friend.
What does it mean to you that the One True God is your suffering servant?
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