Jesus the Slave

by Bryant Evans on September 19, 2010

It is a strange thought that Jesus was a slave. But the facts are there. He was a servant, a slave of the Father as he calls us to be. No one likes the idea of being totally devoted to the point that you surrender your will to someone else but isn’t that exactly what our Lord did? And if he did it, shouldn’t we?

Jesus’ subservience to the Father began when Jesus came to Earth. Previously Jesus was with God in heaven (John 1:1-4) but willingly chose to surrender his divinity to come to earth . Look careful at Paul’s description from Philippians 2:5-8.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. “

Notice first that Jesus “took the form of a servant” and  he “humbled himself by becoming obedient.” Our Lord was in the form of God and was Good. Through him all the Universe was created. Yet when the time came he “made himself nothing.” That’s a pretty good description of a slave don’t you think? Nothing. The Corinthians were told, “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor…”(2 Corinthians 8:9). That’s another good description of a slave. Poor. We ought to add that this change, from divine to denigrated, was a choice. Not a requirement. The text says that “he humbled himself.” Now no one chooses to be a slave, or do they?

Jesus, praying to his father just hours before his death , said, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do(John 17:4, emphasis mine), and As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18, emphasis mine).  Just like a slave, Jesus did work that was assigned to him and went where he was sent. Like a slave. Obedient.

Jesus was not just a slave but he was also an example for other slaves. We claim the name for our own – we are Christians. Are we Christians in name only? Or do we adopt the lifestyle of Jesus? There are always many who would be masters. Plenty of folks want to be in charge. What the Lord needs are workers, slaves if you will, who will go where they are sent and accomplish the work they are given.

The true Christian life is that of a servant. An underling who obeys. A radical concept really but one that was demonstrated by the Savior.

There is another crucial fact about slaves. They are rewarded by their master. In Revelation 5:5 Jesus is described as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” and as one who has conquered. And again in John 17:1 Jesus prays for his own glorification which comes after he has accomplished his work. Just like Jesus glory awaits us. If we serve as Jesus served we will sure be glorified as Jesus was glorified.

All of this makes me consider my own pride and haughty spirit. Let me pray that God will humble, gently I hope, so that I can be more like my Lord.

-Bryant Evans

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{ 2 comments }

Bill January 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Bryant,
Would you please send me your comments or reply to the following statements from a fellow SS Class member who says he is bothered by the statement in scripture that says Jesus was a slave and chose to be that way. I forwarded the above article you wrote and below is my friends response.

Thanks for the note. There are frequently several ways to interpret Biblical passages and all be appropriate. My comment was that I agreed with everything that had been said about Jesus being a slave but that the concept bothered me. I added that though a slave he was a willing slave. That seems to be consiatant with your reference article which said that he CHOSE to surrender his Divinity.

My problem involves the thought that Jesus didn’t come to save my soul He was just obeying orders. He didn’t believe what He preached He was mouthing words given Him. I recognize the words were true and the message was right but still they lose power when delivered BY A SLAVE.

Bryant Evans January 26, 2013 at 4:56 pm

I am actually going to do an entire post on the subject. It’s a good question. I would simply say that Jesus was God (John 1:1ff) and as such was not just following orders but following his own plan along with his Father and the Holy Spirit.

Thanks for a fine question!

Bryant

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