Imagine you are a witness to the last meal that Jesus shared with His disciples the night of His betrayal. Suddenly, Jesus stands up from supper, picks up a towel, pours water into a basin, and begins to wash their feet. Can you imagine the look of shock on the disciples’ faces when Jesus, their Lord and Teacher, stoops down to wash and dry their dirty feet?

Paul wrote in Philippians 2:5-7, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”

The Greek word for “bondservant” was doulos which meant a slave, the lowest status on the social ladder, but not just any slave—a slave by choice. The word describes someone who was willingly subject to his master. Paul goes on to write in verse 8, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” In other words, Jesus humbled Himself and obediently subjected Himself to the will of the Father, so that we in our wretched sinfulness could be saved.

Paul tells us that our mindset should be just like Christ’s. He is the example we are to follow! Jesus laid out that example in Matthew 20:27-28 when He stated, “And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Again, the same word for “slave” in Matthew 20:27 is the same word Paul used to describe Christ as a bondservant in Philippians 2:7, which is doulos. This is the example Jesus set for His followers.

In Romans 1:1, Paul then refers to himself as “a bondservant [doulos] of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.” Paul understood the example that his Lord had laid before him. Paul knew that he was first and foremost a slave to Christ, then after that an apostle called by God. He had his priorities straight because he knew exactly who was Lord of his life.

Is Jesus your Lord? Then follow His example and serve Him by serving one another with humility and love.

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