… the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.(Mark 10:45)
The Son of Man was one of the titles given to the expected Messiah in the Old Testament. Ironically, it is a title that points to his glory, majesty and power. And yet he comes not to be served, but to serve. The Jewish people were looking for a mighty warrior king who would overthrow the Romans and liberate them from Roman domination. Instead, Jesus, the Messiah comes – born, not in a palace, but in a stable, born of a teenage girl, under embarrassing circumstances, born in a stable. He wasn’t raised as a prince in a palace, but as a carpenter’s son. At times he was even homeless:
…the foxes have holes and the birds of the air had the nest, but the son of man had nowhere to lay his head(Matt 8:20)
In worldly terms, he didn’t have any power or authority. And even among those who followed him, one betrayed him, another denied him, almost all of his followers abandoned him. He was whipped, beaten, spat on, abused and hung like a common criminal on a cross to die. He comes to serve and to lay down his life. This is our God, the servant king!
One thing Jesus was doing was challenging our whole understanding of kingdom, of leadership, of power and authority, and of glory and honour.
He said to Pilate, that symbol of Roman power:
…my kingdom is not of this world. If it was my followers, would. But my kingdom is from another place. It’s a different kind of kingdom.(John 18:36)
This is a kingdom that is not advanced by the sword as the Roman empire was. His different kingdom is not based on the power of the sword, but the power of the cross. We are called to live in the way of this kingdom, to follow the servant king.
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, the apostle shows what it looks like to live and to lead in the way of this servant king. He helps us to look at life and leadership and everything through the lens of the gospel, through the lens of the servant king, who lays down his life. He teaches us that, in the way of this different kingdom, in the path of the servant king, we don’t boast about any earthly honours and qualifications but about the things that seem even to disqualify us and our weaknesses – because God’s power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). So if you feel overlooked, sidelined, disqualified – you are exactly the person he calls and who can learn to walk in the way of the servant king.