The Person of Christ - 15 - The Perfect Servant

Chapter 15 - The Perfect Servant Character of Christ

The Perfect Servant

Harold S. Paisley

 

On the evening of the Resurrection Day the Risen Lord opened the understanding of His own in the Upper Room. that they might understand the Scriptures. To do this He used the three accepted divisions of the Old Testament: the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. He showed that the things written concerning Himself were fulfilled. Their hearts were touched as He presented Himself as the Eternal Son, the True Man, the Perfect Servant and the Majestic King. It is our delight to present some precious things concerning Christ in the perfection of His service. We shall trace these under five headings in Scriptural sequence.

 

1.         THE SERVANT IN THE PICTURES OF THE LAW OF MOSES

 

The Lord Jesus confirmed that Moses wrote of Him (John 5:46). Again, when He walked with the two on the Emmaus road, He began at Moses to expound unto them the things concerning Himself. From the Treasury of Moses many servants have pictured the Perfect Servant. The time would fail to write of Joseph, “The Hebrew Servant” whose service was marked by purity and prosperity in a scene of iniquity. Moses, the servant of God, who for forty years was marked by great wisdom and patience in all his service in the wilderness. Jacob served faithfully “for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep,” bearing unusual hardships (Hos. 12:12).

 

One of the most beautiful pictures of the Perfect Servant is seen in the ancient law of the Hebrew bondman (Ex. 21:1-6). This bondservant was granted freedom at the end of his six years of compulsory service. In the seventh year he could go Out free. In the great decision in the seventh year, we have a heart-warming picture of the Lotd Jesus. The bondservant reveals his love for his master and desires to serve for a longer term. Plainly declaring the motives of his heart, he says, “I love my master, my wife and my children, I will not go out free.” A most touching scene follows this wonderful confession. He is taken by his master to the door, or unto the doorpost, and there his master bores his ear through with an awl. He then continues his service forever. We are sure that the permanent wound upon his ear produced the approval of his master, the affection of his bride, and the appreciation of all his family. The doorpost in Egypt (Ex. 12) was marked by the blood of the Lamb; the doorpost in Canaan was marked by the blood of the Servant. It is not hard to see in this lovely type the absolute devotion of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Perfect Servant for His God, His church and all His people in all ages.

 

2. THE SERVANT IN THE POETRY OF THE PSALMS OF DAVID

 

Many of the lovely psalms written by David present the Person, Pathway, Passion and Possessions of Christ. The Spirit has given us everything about the Lord Jesus in the great Messianic psalms. Psalm 40 chiefly presents His devotion and His perfect service culminating in His Sacrifice upon the cross. The central section of this delightful psalm is quoted by the writer to the Hebrews, and can only be interpreted as one of the things concerning Himself. In it we learn that all the ancient offerings had given God no lasting pleasure. They were fingerposts to Christ and His once for all sacrifice. His perfect service in life was to terminate in His greatest act of obedience -the death of the cross. The words of the Lord are most touching: “Mine ears hast Thou opened (pierced).” This points back to Exodus 21.6, where the bondservant was pierced with the awl. The changing of the clause to “a body hast Thou prepared me” is significant. When the ear of the servant was pierced with the awl and his blood flowed, he was saying “My whole body and soul belongs to my master.” When the Lord Jesus entered upon His perfect service by way of His holy incarnation, He could utter these lovely words which were the epitome of all His ways, “I delight to do Thy will.”

 

3.         THE SERVANT IN THE PROPHECY OF ZECHARIAH

 

One of the beautiful Messianic figures of Christ is the title of “The Branch.” In Isaiah 4:2, we read, “In that day shall the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious.” Here we have the Saviour as the Son, as seen in John. In Jer. 23:5, we read, “A righteous Branch and a King shall reign and prosper.” These lovely words reveal the Sovereign of Matthew. In Zechariah 6:12, “Behold the man whose name is the Branch.” How accurately this describes the Son of man as recorded by Luke. In Zechariah 3:8, the fourfold presentation is completed: “Behold I will bring forth my servant the Branch. “This is the most fitting title one could place over Mark’s gospel, to which we now draw your attention.

 

4.         THE SERVANT IN THE PRESENTATION OF MARK

 

In this wonderful Gospel of the Perfect Servant, we behold the lowliness and meekness of the Lord in contrast to the dignity and power presented in John’s Gospel. Mark presents the Servant as the Blessed One, who, though on equality with God made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of the bond-servant. That explains why there is no genealogy of the Lord or record of His birth in Mark. He is introduced at the commencement of His public ministry. His sojourn in Egypt and the years spent in Nazareth as a carpenter are not mentioned. There are only four parables recorded by Mark, and all of these have to do with His service. It is the Gospel of miracles, all of which were deeds of service. There are more of these detailed in Mark than in all of the other Gospels. Let us consider some of the features of His service.

 

A.        Service marked by tenderness. We read of the Lord taking individuals by the hand (1:30-31; 8:23; 9:27) and taking up children in his arms (9:36: 10:13-16). Behold the tenderness of His touch! With deep sympathy He draws near to those in need and distress.

 

B.         Service preceded by prayer. The words of Mark 1:35 are found nowhere else in the Scriptures: “In the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went Out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark places this at the commencement of his book, as it indicates the secret of all power in service. The servant must know the secret of first approaching the throne of God, before he labours in the presence of men.

 

C.        Service rendered in the spirit of humility. He was meek and lowly in heart - “And when they had found Him, they said unto Him, All men seek for Thee. And He said unto them, Let us go into the nexttowns, that I may preach there also      (1:37-38). In this we see the Lord’s attitude to popularity. To be well received is pleasing to most servants. One would desire to remain where honour is given. The Lord shunned popularity. His desire was to be well-pleasing to God. He often threw a veil over His gracious acts (7:36; 8:26).

 

D.        Service carried out in an orderly manner - “He commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties” (6:39-40). There was Divine order. In our service we should give attendance to detail and godly order. God is not the author of confusion.

 

E.         Service motivated by love - “Jesus moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him” (1:41). Only in this Gospel is His compassion constantly introduced (e.g., 6:34, 8:1). What is our preaching worth, if we do not have a loving and compassionate heart for the perishing? We read those lovely words of a rich but unsaved young man:

“Jesus beholding him loved him” (10:21).

 

The Gospel ends with the exaltation of the Servant. This is one of the sixteen proofs of the literal ascension of the Lord to be found in the New Testament: “He was received up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following”(16:19-20). He who once served down here has gone to Heaven. He still works with His servants. This is the golden key to all true ministry!

 

5.         THE SERVANT IN PREEMINENCE IN THE PHILIPPIAN EPISTLE OF PAUL

 

In His lovely Christological gem in Philippians 2:5-Il, Paul sets forth the present glory of the Servant. We behold the majesty, meekness and might of His service down here. We see His Godhead, His manhood, His servant character and Lordship. We learn Who He was, what He became, what He accomplished, what and where He is now, and what He will be in a day soon to dawn. He is presently far above all angels and men who serve. He holds the highest place.

 

Higher than all, higher than all,

Jesus my Saviour is higher than all;

Thrones and dominions before Him shall fall,

For Jesus my Saviour is far above all.

May these thoughts of the Perfect One and His Service produce in us a devoted heart, an awl-marked ear, a willing foot and a full hand.