This site uses cookies to provide you with more responsive and personalized service and to collect certain information about your use of the site.  You can change your cookie settings through your browser.  If you continue without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.  See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Daily Devotional | God with us: The Gospel of Matthew | Man fishing with a net. Daily Devotional | God with us: The Gospel of Matthew | Man fishing with a net.

Daily Devotional | Living Like the Servant King

Imagine a corporate boss, who despite his high status, regularly takes the time to listen and to personally assist his employees no matter their role or status within the company. Certainly, that would be the type of boss any of us would want to work for! Humble leadership is a rare quality.

We have no greater example of humble leadership than Jesus. In Matthew 20, the mother of James and John, two of Jesus’ disciples, asked for places of honor for her sons in His kingdom (vv. 20–21). Jesus responded: “You don’t know what you are asking” (v. 22). Following and serving Jesus was not about prestige but about following His path of service and suffering.

Jesus explained that in His kingdom true greatness would be found in serving others: “[W]hoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (v. 27). This echoes some of Matthew’s major themes: self-denial, status denial, servant-leadership, and Jesus’ mission.

Like the corporate boss who sets aside status to serve his team, Jesus— though He was God Himself—stepped into human history as a baby. He then served humanity by sacrificing His own life to offer eternal life. Jesus’ presence was marked by humility and service, not domination and control. Although He deserved all the glory, Jesus used His life to bring hope and justice to the marginalized. His presence brought healing, restoration, and dignity to the overlooked.

This is a counter-cultural perspective on greatness. In God’s kingdom, greatness is not about power, control, or status but about service and sacrificial love. Verse 28 gives a beautiful picture: “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Go Deeper

What are some ways we can serve as Jesus served? How can we humble ourselves, and in so doing, entice others to join in on the loving and transformative presence of God?

Pray with Us: You are the Almighty King, and yet You said You came to serve. In our world that glorifies power, these are shocking words! Lord God, examine our hearts today and help us follow Your example of a humble Servant.

BY James Coakley

Dr. Jim Coakleyis professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute. He earned his BA in Pastoral Studies from Calvary Bible College, his M.Div. and Th.M. in Old Testament from Grace Theological Seminary, and his doctorate from Covenant Theological Seminary. Jim is the author of 14 Fresh Ways to Enjoy the Bible (Moody Publishers). He and his wife, Gayle, live in the western suburbs of Chicago and have two adult children and three grandchildren. 

Find Daily Devotionals by Month