For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matt 20.28
“…serving God as a grateful response to the gospel is the calling of every Christian.” Nate Palmer
Gospel service comes in two parts. First, in gospel service we recognize Christ as the servant who came before us and gave Himself sacrificially on our behalf. This comes with a caveat. When we read that Matthew 20.28 says, “..but to serve” we are inclined to think that Christ primarily serves us. Yes, he did come to serve humanity. Yes, he did serve the disciples whom he led and feet-washed. But primarily Christ serves God the Father. Christ’s service to His Father takes priority.
When Christ fed the 5,000, he did not do so to serve and appease the hunger of man. He fed them to demonstrate that He is the bread of life. But what does being the bread of life mean in context of John 6.35-40. Read this passage with new eyes.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Just like the manna that came down from heaven to the Israelites in the wilderness, Christ is sent down from heaven as bread for the people. This bread comes as service to God. It’s life giving bread from God the Father. Christ primarily came to serve God the Father. He came to do God the Father’s will. In feeding the 5,000 He serves God first. When the people saw the miracle of feeding 5,000 they called Christ the Prophet to come into the world. Later Christ reminds the disciples that His coming is because of God the Father’s sending.
When Christ saw that the people wanted to make Him king, He retreated to the mountain. Historically mountains are a place where people go to meet with God. On a mountain God appeared to Moses. On a mountain Israel approached God in fear and beheld His glory. On a mountain Elijah felt the presence of God. Guess what? Christ retreated to the mountain to commune with His Father. He met with God.
Christ’s first priority has always been to do the will of His Father. When men wanted to king Him, he retreated to continue following His Father’s will. Christ served as His Father wished, loved as His Father instructed, and suffered as His Father thought necessary. Christ served His Father first. Let that take hold in your brain because we live in a world that expects Christ to first serve us. He doesn’t. He first serves His Father. Christ is not our genie. He’s our God.
Secondarily, gospel service drives us to respond to Christ’s obedience of the Father by being obedient to Christ. 1 Cor 4.1 says, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” We should embody gospel service so well that everyone around us will know we serve Christ. Can you imagine it? You walk into the gas station you frequent, holding the door for people as they come in or out and letting others in a rush go in front of you in line. Because of your servant-hearted disposition over time, the cashier discovers you serve Christ. You drop off cookies at the Fire Station near your home and the firemen discover over time that you serve Christ. You offer to mow your neighbor’s lawn while you are out mowing yours. He discovers you serve Christ. You stop to help a mother of four small children in a suburban that is stalled out as the front car at a signal light. Everyone else moves around but you get out and help move this monstrous vehicle. She discovers you serve Christ.
When we demonstrate gospel service we build a platform to deliver gospel truth. You earn a right to tell others about the manifold love of God and the humbling service of Christ, which resulted in Christ dying and rising from the dead.