The Character of a Servant Pt 1

The Attitude of a Servant Pt 1
Matthew 20:17-19
“They will hand him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.”

Would you go into a situation when you knew for sure that it would result in your death?  If we knew it would lead to our demise, we would avoid it at all costs.  If it were within our power, we would find an alternative.

As Jesus prepares to go up to Jerusalem, he informs the disciples of the events that will transpire.  The disciples knew the risks of the Jewish leaders' opposition and hatred towards Jesus.  They knew that going up to Jerusalem involved a high level of risk.  In Matthew 16:21-23, Peter sought to persuade Jesus from going to Jerusalem.  In his mind, the risk was too great.
Furthermore, it did not fit the narrative of the purpose of Christ’s ministry.  In the minds of the disciples, Jesus was going to establish his Messianic kingdom now, not in some future day.  Furthermore, they figured they would have high positions of honor and authority in his kingdom; after all, they had forsaken everything to follow him.

Anticipating their argument, Jesus starts by reminding them of what a servant is. While Jesus had previously warned the disciples that he would be put to death and arise on the third day, they failed to grasp the total weight of this announcement. They must have figured that Jesus would perform some miracle that would destroy the opposition and establish his kingdom.  

While it does not surprise us that the disciples failed to grasp the significance of Jesus’ statement, it is surprising that Jesus did.  He knew what was in store for him. He knew that he was going to face the pain and suffering of a horrible death on the cross.  But he also knew that he would face greater suffering, for he was going to experience the full wrath of God upon sin.  He was going to meet the judgment of God. He not only knew this, but he still willingly went up to Jerusalem.
In this short statement of Jesus, we see the heart and motivation of Jesus.  He could have easily performed a miracle that would have destroyed his enemies and established his messianic kingdom.  He had the power and authority to accomplish what the disciples expected.  However, Jesus was operating under a different agenda.  Jesus knew that something greater was at stake.  There is only one time when we would willingly go into a situation that would result in our death, and that is when the results would be so great that it would transcend life itself.  Such was the case of Jesus.  Hebrews 12:2 states, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.”  What, then, was the joy set before him?  What was at stake that was so great that Jesus was willing to suffer the unfathomable wrath of God?  It was not his kingdom.  It was not any benefit he would receive.  It was our salvation! Jesus would point out to the disciples in 28 that Jesus did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. He was willing to die for us because he was the ultimate servant.  Knowing that the disciples were jockeying for positions of power in the kingdom, Jesus starts by pointing out what a servant really is.  A servant is willing to sacrifice himself for the salvation of others.  


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