“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”Matthew 20:28
I get very irritated when people “pull rank” and try to use their position to get one over on other people. Some people seem to develop this skill from an early age. When I was at prep school, older boys would say, “older, senior, been here longer!” as a justification for why younger boys should do as they told them. When I worked at a leading retailer, I used to get very annoyed when management would refuse to help fill the shelves. Particularly around Christmas, there would be a lot of work to do before the store opened, but management seemed to think that it was beneath them to fill shelves. Even in teaching, there are some senior managers who will use their seniority in order to get a more junior member of staff to do something that they would not do themselves. To me, the whole notion seems rather immature and silly.
Jesus, as the Son of God, had the ultimate opportunity to “pull rank.” If anyone is more important than anyone else, then surely Jesus is! He is, after all, the messiah promised by God, who is seated at the right hand of the father. He is, in fact, God. Jesus adopted the opposite attitude, however. He is known as the “servant king,” and in today’s verse, he states that he “did not come to be served, but to serve.” He has come to serve us, rather than for us to serve him! The ultimate way that Jesus did this was by giving “his life as a ransom for many.” When he died on the cross, he released us from the captivity of our sins, and freed us to be with him in heaven. We hear this so often that it almost becomes meaningless, but when you think about it, that is quite a remarkable statement. Jesus died for us. For you. For me. He willingly took the punishment for the sin that we have committed, so that we could approach God. He gave up his life to save us. That is surely something that we can give thanks for.
Do give thanks, then, that Jesus did give his life as a ransom. Reflect too on the idea of the “servant king.” As we strive to be more like Jesus, perhaps we should think about whether that humility and service to others is something that we demonstrate every day.