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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” - Matthew 20:28.

This passage from the Gospel of Matthew has always struck me.  If Jesus came not to be served, then why do we call ourselves His servants?  He came to serve us!  This can be quite perplexing.  If Jesus didn’t come so we could serve Him, then why did He come?  If Christianity was like any other theism, serving (read: owing) would be the proper logical response.  But being the God of the Bible’s image bearers, humanity's existence is not merely one of subjection to a “higher power.”  Jesus came to show us what it actually means to be human.

By calling ourselves Christians, we bear the name of Jesus in that we serve like Jesus.  It’s not so much that we serve Him; rather, we are servants like Him.  God doesn’t need our vain attempts at appeasing Him—it is through the service of the one that our service has any meaning in the first place.  It is not the mere act of doing charity that qualifies us as Christians, but rather the denial of self and the loving of others in the exaltation of Christ that awards us the premier title: servant.  Jesus is our suffering servant, so, as His followers, we must desire to be suffering servants as well.  Suffering and serving in the same way He did—for the sake of the world.

So then, is it appropriate to call ourselves Jesus’ servants?  Absolutely!  We serve Him by being servants like Him—walking in the likeness of Christ.  We can serve, because He first served us. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can serve like Jesus—denying ourselves, loving our God, and loving our neighbor.

As you engage in this fast, may the Lord reveal your selfishness and replace it with a heart of service.  Our Lord Jesus came to serve us, so we could know what true service is.  He came to serve us, so we can know what true humanity is: one of service and sacrifice unto others, to the glory of our God.
Zachary Albanese
Ministry Fellow at Dartmouth
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