We’ve begun looking at the names of God and how his names help us understand him better. This week I want to look at the name, ‘Servant’, which is used to refer to the second person of the trinity, the Son.
The Old Testament book of Isaiah the prophet has repeated prophecies about someone who is God’s servant. These prophecies are then picked up in the New Testament gospels as references to Jesus: ‘Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope”’ (Matthew 12:15-21).
But what does it mean that Jesus is the servant of the Lord? It means he does the work of a servant. What sort of work? There are many ways that Jesus serves us but one of the greatest ways is by his death on the cross for sinners. Isaiah prophesied that the servant of the Lord would do just such a work: ‘But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors’ (Isaiah 53:5-12).
The apostle Paul also describes Jesus as a servant in his work at the cross: ‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!’ (Philippians 2:5-8).
So the Son of God is the servant of the Lord. But has he served you by dying in your place? Or are you still going to have to die for your own sins for all eternity?