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.