Philippians 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. ESV
Many Bible scholars view this explanation of Christ’s deity and humanity to be the greatest of all that is found in scripture. Yet it seems that Paul’s primary objective was not to prove that Jesus is God, nor to explain how or why He became a man; but rather to remind us that as His followers, we are called to be humble as well.
Paul begins by saying, “Have the same attitude Jesus had.” Though Jesus was God and worthy of all adoration, He chose to humble Himself so that He might become a servant. Paul’s intentions were to make us think – “If the glorious Son of God was willing to demonstrate such humility, surely we as His followers should be willing to do so as well.”
The Christian’s call to servanthood is found throughout Christ’s teaching.
Mark 9:35 “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” ESV
Matthew 20:25 “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave… ESV
Perhaps of all the passages that try to teach us about the importance of service and humility, none is more profound than what is written in John 13.
John 13:12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. ESV
Many believers take Christ’s words literally and regularly observe the ordinance of foot washing. As wonderful as that is, I believe that Jesus wants us to take it even a step further. Not only should we be willing to wash each others feet, we should be willing to care for each other in any way we can. We should be willing to be kind and forgiving when we have been wronged. We should keep silent and not say slanderous things about each other. We should pray for each other as though we ourselves was the one suffering. We should give of whatever we have when we see each other in need. We should encourage each other in the things of God. We should put each other ahead of ourselves. We should be as meek and lowly as the baby the shepherds found in the manger.