Center Stage

“But made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7)

Your servant’s heart startles us.

Your supreme might, holiness, and majesty are our usual prompts for praise. And yet, as counter-intuitive as it seems, you alone are the bearer of burdens we are incapable of handling and the one who carried the staggering load we could never endure. Worship is your due as Servant as well.

You upended the norm as the towel-taker crouched before scruffy friends with unwashed feet. On the night you were cruelly betrayed, your love took center stage. Knowing your crucifixion was near, no act of service was beneath you. You stooped to make your disciples clean. Setting the bar high for them, and for us, you lowered yourself and embodied the gold standard for sacrificial love.

This was nothing new for you.

All across the pages of Scripture you demonstrated your servant’s heart. We find you serving your people in the wilderness with a shield of mercy in the form of clouds by day and fire by night. Like a protective caretaker concerned for the welfare of his beloved charge, you hovered over them although they had chosen the wild card of rebellion.

Earlier, we find you hurrying your tribe to safety in the ark, ensuring they were sequestered inside before the torrential downpour prevailed. Your hand closed the door from the outside, cocooning them through those particularly harrowing days and nights. The vessel was never in danger of being submerged because, like a resolute servant, your vigilant eye was focused on their survival.

You were with Joseph as a slave on foreign soil equipping him for the task, reinforcing his shattered heart with your vigilant presence. Miles away from his homeland and his father’s house, you stood ever close to him as right-guard defender. We see you in a similar light through the repetitive cycle of trials and triumphs of the familiar characters in the Old Testament like Abraham, Moses, Joshua.

When you took up the mantle as Suffering Servant who “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4), experiencing “the chastisement that brought us peace” (Isaiah 53:5), you took serving to its pinnacle. The Father’s commendation begs consideration: “By his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11).

We worship you for each of your sacred attributes, for all the ways you reveal yourself through Scripture, and for your open invitation to know you intimately. Your selfless, servant heart challenges us even today to imitate your ways on earth.

“You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told” (Psalm 40:5).

Elizabeth A Mitchell

Photo Credit: Hatice Nogman on Pexels

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