Jesus: Master & Servant
by Pastor Bert Hitchcock
One has only to look in a thesaurus to realize these titles are opposites. “Master” is listed as an antonym for “servant”; and “servant” is an antonym for “master”. But both of those titles are attributed to Jesus – indeed he uses both to refer to himself. This is surely one of the great paradoxes of God’s Word; but it also unfolds the greatness of the gospel.
In Biblical Greek, there are at least seven words that could be translated “master”; and all but one of them is used in the New Testament to refer to Jesus. But most impressive is the fact that Jesus was called kurios or Lord. That is the word used as a title for the One who exercises supernatural authority over everything. Jesus is not just a master; he is The Master!
But according to Philippians 2,
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges,
and took the humble position of a slave,
being born as a human being.
And throughout his life on earth, Jesus lived-out that servant attitude. He publicly declared that he had not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for us. And serve he did: ministering hope and healing to the sick, the unclean, public sinners, and social outcasts.
Most notably, in the evening before he was betrayed, he washed his disciples feet – a task only a slave would ever be asked to do. But that foot-washing was a token of the ultimate washing he came to accomplish: The next day he was hung on a cross where he was punished for sins he never committed – our sins – in order that we might be made clean, without sin before the Father.
Because of his faithful service, God raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him to his throne, and gave him the name above every name: Jesus Christ the Lord. He is the one we now worship; and he is the pattern of our discipleship – our Servant King.
The Servant King