2009-02-23_1234_1_VillageSheep

In the first post entitled The God Who Serves, we looked at two Scripture portions concerning the servanthood of Jesus. One was in Luke 12:35–40, where Jesus states that when He returns, He will cause His servants to sit down at table and then serve them dinner. This isn’t an act that we would anticipate from the Lord of all creation. He is the victorious One, who conquered sin, death, and hell. Every knee shall bow before Him, the sovereign Lord. Consequently, we are overwhelmed by the truth spoken from His own mouth that He will become our waiter at His return. The second passage was from John 21:1–13, where Jesus, after His resurrection, serves His disciples breakfast. We looked at the contrast between how Jesus ran this “event” and how we might. We should ask, “Why didn’t Jesus lead this event the way we would?” He is, after all, our example as well as our Lord. Surely, as the sovereign and omniscient God, He must have thoughtfully planned this occasion. It is impossible to think that Jesus did not know that He was displaying an example of leadership that early morning.

Jesus told the disciples from the very beginning, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Followership—discipleship—came first. That following would have included being a servant, as He was. Fishing for men would then track along with it. Jesus was plainly giving His disciples an example on the Galilean shore that morning how following Him and fishing for men should be done—leaders serving. Jesus was “fishing” for Peter and those who had abandoned Him, to bring them in to Him.

Did Jesus’ disciples see His servanthood as an example of leadership that morning? We’re not told. They very well may have missed it at the time, but we see that Peter and the rest of the New Testament authors referred to themselves as servants in their letters. Therefore, somewhere in their walk with Jesus, they came to a fuller understanding of who Jesus was and who they were. Have we missed it? We agree that Jesus was a servant and that we should be too, yet we tend to think that leading from the top is serving. Servants don’t lead from the top. They lead from the place that the least occupy. We have a difficult time understanding what a servant is, especially in the United States. It might be enlightening to visit a country where servants still exist. Or perhaps we could plug the optics of maid or waiter into our servant paradigm. Do we view them as leaders?

After breakfast, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” and then told him, “Feed My sheep.” Would Peter have already forgotten that Jesus had, just minutes earlier, fed breakfast to His sheep? Possibly. We know his history. Regardless, it seems obvious that Jesus was not only telling Peter that he should feed His sheep the word of God, but also that he should feed them as He had just done—as a waiter might. Being a shepherd like this, Jesus said, would be an expression of Peter’s love for Him.

Are you perplexed by what Jesus offers here? Challenged? We are encountering the God who not only reigns but the God who serves. We are encountering the God who turns our concept of leadership on its head.

Are you perplexed by what Jesus offers here? Challenged? We are encountering the God who not only reigns but the God who serves. We are encountering the God who turns our concept of leadership on its head.

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