And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.…
We find in these words a double reference — first, to the character, and secondly, to the office, of the Son of Man; to His character as the lowly one, to His office as the servant. For the purpose of bringing both these things before His disciples, He makes use of those marvellous words, "I am among you as the Serving One." Consider three things in reference to this service.
I. ITS HISTORY. It is not with His birth in Bethlehem that Christ's service begins. His visit to our first father in paradise was its true commencement. After that we find Him, age after age, visiting the children of men, and always in the character of one ministering to their wants. At His ascension He only entered on a new department of service; and as the Advocate with the Father, the Intercessor, the Forerunner, we see Him still serving. Nor, when He comes again in strength and majesty, as King of kings and Lord of lords, does He lose sight of His character as the Ministering One (Luke 12:37).
II. LET US CONSIDER THE NATURE OF THIS SERVICE. It is in all respects like Himself — like Him who, though He was rich, for our sakes became poor.
1. It is willing service. His varied rounds of service are no heavy task. He is the willing servant of the needy.
2. It is a loving service. Out of no fountain save that of love could such amazing, such endless acts of service flow. The loving and the serving are inseparable.
3. It is self-denying service. To continue ministering, day after day, in the midst of reproach, and opposition, and rejection, was self-denial and devotedness such as man can hardly either credit or conceive.
4. It is patient, unwearied service. He has compassion on the ignorant, and on them that arc out of the way. He breaks not the bruised reed; He quenches not the smoking flax. By day or by night we find Him ever girt for service.
5. It is free service. It cannot be bought, for what gold could purchase it? Neither does it need to be bought, for it is freely rendered.
III. ITS ENDS AND OBJECTS. It is to sinners that this service is rendered; and there is much in this to exhibit the ends which it has in view. This gracious servant of the needy is willing to be employed by any one, no matter who, let him be the poorest, and the sickliest, and the feeblest of all who ever sought a helper, a protector, or a guide, on their way to the kingdom.
(H. Bonar, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.