Home > Sermons
Christ the Servant
Phil 2:5 - 11
John 13:1- 17
This morning we want to take a little trip back in time and look at one of the last events in Jesus' life. It is recorded in John 13:1 - 17. Jesus had spent about 3 years teaching his disciples many things and now he at the end of His ministry on earth. The 12 disciples and Jesus are remembering the Passover Supper.
What was the Passover Feast? We read about its beginning in Exodus 12. The night the Israelites left Egypt after 430 years of slavery, They killed a 1 year old lamb or goat and roasted it. Then they ate it with bread made without yeast and bitter herbs. They took the blood of the lamb and put it on the door posts and above the door. That night the Lord passed over all the homes in Egypt.The eldest son was killed in every home except those who had put blood on their door posts. Then they were freed from their slavery. This is a beautiful picture of what was about to happen to Christ. He was the lamb that was killed so that we could be freed from the slavery of sin. This is the feast that the disciples were celebrating.
During the feast the disciples were talking and they began to discuss who would be the greatest in the kingdom of God. This might have begun because of the seating arrangement at the Feast of the Passover was important. We are told that John was sitting on one side of Jesus and it is believed that Judas was on the other side. These were the positions of honour. We possibly would think that Peter would have been sitting next to Jesus because later he became the leader of the church. Maybe he started the argument. Luke 22:24 tells us that there was an argument among the disciples as to who was the greatest.
Christ arose from the table and lay aside His outer clothes and put a towel around His waist. He took water from the water pitcher and put it in a basin and began to wash His disciples feet. In those days they would take a bath at a public bath and then walk the dusty road to the feast in their sandals. Thus they would be completely clean. This is what Christ was doing for them now. After Christ finished He put His clothes back on and sat down at the table. He asked the disciples if they knew the importance of what He had done. Let's read Christ's answer in John 13:15 - 17
15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Again in Luke 22:25 - 27, " 25 Jesus said to them, ``The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.
26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.
27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
Philippians 2:5 tells us to have the save attitude which Christ had. This attitude was the attitude of a servant. In all of Christ's ministry we see this attitude of wanting to serve. When the crowds came to be taught He taught. When the children came to Him to see their "hero" the disciples tried to get rid of them but Christ took time to be with them. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, cheered the lonely, raised the dead and gave joy to the sorrowing. We are to have the save attitude as Christ had as He served in these many ways.
Christ was perfect and He could have come down to earth in all His splendour and majesty with all His angels and He would have overpowered us. Instead He didn't choose to do it that way. He left His glory and power and came to earth as a man so that we could follow His example. Hebrews 4:15 says, " For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin." Christ emptied Himself of His heavenly position and power and took on the form of a servant an was made in the likeness of me. (Phil 2:7)
As a man Christ humbled Himself and became obedient even unto death. Here we have 2 keys to living as a servant. The first is humility and the second is obedience. What is humility? how do you become humble? Many places in the bible we are exhorted to be humble. Humility is having a proper balance of knowing 2 things 1) what God has done for me and through me and 2) what I am able to do. Romans 12:3 says,"Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. We need to realize what God has done for us and what kind of faith and power He has given us - then go out and use it. someone has defined humility as "unconscious self-forgetfulness" Christ's example demonstrates this definition. He did not think of Himself but He ministered to anyone who came to Him.
In Isaiah 66:2 God says, " This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." A humble person is one who respects God's word and depends on it. A humble person fears the Lord and walks close to God. James 4:6,7 gives us a little more insight into humbleness. "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'' 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Submission and humility seem to be very close together. We looked at Romans 12:3 which is closely linked to submission. If we are completely submitted to God, serving others unselfishly, depending on God's power and word, we will not regard ourselves more highly than we ought and we will be humble.
We have to be obedient to be a servant. Here again Christ was a supreme example. Christ was obedient to His Father here on earth. In the years when Christ was performing miracles and teaching He spent the hight talking to His Father a number of times asking God for guidance. When it came time for the cross Jesus said, "Not my will but thine be done." Mt 26:39). christ was willing to die on the cross for us but it wasn't easy. It seem so difficult for us to follow what God teaches in His Word. Have we been obedient to Christ in everything? If you haven't you really aren't a true servant. A servant submits to the will of his master. Maybe you've been struggling with something in your life which you know is not right. Jesus struggled for us in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked the Father if there was not some other way that men could be redeemed. We are like that also. We like to ask God if there isn't an easier way to overcome our difficulties and temptations. christ was completely obedient and died on the cross. We need to be completely obedient and follow Christ. Maybe you've been struggling with the question of baptism. Maybe you've had a problem with a sin in your life. We need to be obedient to God and overcome through Him. Christ said "not my will but your will be done." That's the heart of a servant!!
What happened after Christ was obedient? Let's read Phil 2:9 - 11. Because of Christ's obedience God lifted Him above everyone and everything. Everyone will one day bow to Jesus. We will have the privilege of bowing to Christ from heaven as Christians. Won't that be wonderful? When Christ was obedient on the cross there was real victory and joy. There was victory over death and Satan and because of that day there has been joy in the hearts of thousands of people.
When we are obedient there is victory over sin and joy in our hearts. If we are disobedient there is guilt, defeat, sadness, and discouragement. It is not easy to be victorious but if we are we will have joy and happiness. We also will be rewarded in heaven for being obedient. We are told to lay up our reward in heaven for we shall all be judged at the end according to our works.
Paul told the Philippians that in the end everyone would bow before Jesus Christ. It gives three places from which people will recognize the name of Jesus: "those in heaven who have died and risen from the dead to be with God along with the angels, those on the earth, who are following christ; and those under the earth, who have not followed Christ. They will bow before Christ but it cannot save them. They will recognize their wrong in not bowing on earth but they will still receive their punishment for disobedience.Do you have the attitude of Christ? Have you submitted completely to the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you become humble and dependent on God completely? Have you been obedient and followed God in everything? If you have been successful in all these areas you are a real servant. If you haven't I'd like you to take time this morning to apply the message to yourself and determine to become a true servant right now.
We'd like to take 2 or 3 minutes of silent prayer and meditation and give time to think and write down anything you need to get straighted out with God. Then pray that you will become victorious in these areas of your life.
Return to Sermon Page