The Serving Son of Man

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Matthew 20:28

In response to his disciples' yearning for position and power, Jesus called them to servanthood. "If you want to be a leader," he said, "then be a servant." Then, in order to illustrate and emphasize the point, Jesus added: "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others, and give his life as a ransom for many" (v. 28).

Who was this Son of Man? And why did Jesus mention him here? The title, Son of Man, was one that Jesus used with surprising frequency. In fact, he used it in reference to himself and his ministry. "Son of Man" was a Semitic idiom that meant, literally, human being. But it took on special meaning for Jews in the time of Jesus because of a key passage in Daniel 7. There, "someone like a son of man" appears in Daniel's vision (7:13). He is given sovereignty over the whole world. Indeed, his kingdom never ends (7:14). Thus, many Jews envisioned the Son of Man as a messianic figure who would rule over God's kingdom on earth.

In a shocking way, Jesus overturned his disciples' expectations for the work of the Son of Man. Jesus, as the Son of Man, came not to enjoy his exalted authority, but to serve. He came not at first to rule over the kingdom of God, but to humble himself and care for others. He came, in fact, to give up his life in the ultimate act of servanthood.

Thus when Jesus calls his disciples, including you and me, to servanthood, he is inviting us to imitate him. Even as he came to serve, so he has sent us into the world to continue his servant leadership.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When you think of Jesus, do you think of him in glory? Or as a servant? What difference does it make in your life that Jesus came as the serving Son of Man?

PRAYER: Gracious Lord Jesus, I can only imagine the shock your disciples experienced when you called them to be servants and then accentuated this call by referring to yourself as the serving Son of Man. It was as if you were turning everything upside down. In a sense, that's exactly what you did. But, in another sense, you were turning things right side up, establishing the values of the kingdom of God.

Help me, Lord, to live by these values. Even today, may I seek not to be served, but to serve others. Give me eyes to see those around me whom I am to serve. Grant me a humble heart. Help me to see the true and deep needs of people. Give me freedom from my desire for personal greatness and glory.

May I be like you, Lord Jesus, the Son of Man who came, not to be served, but to serve. Amen!