Why would the Creator of the universe–the One who made everything that exists; humble Himself and die for crimes which He did not commit?
Nearly 700 years before Jesus came into the world, the prophet Isaiah describes the Messiah as a Servant who would lay down His life for every person. Although He would be God Himself, for our benefit–Jesus submitted His life as the payment for all sin.
Isaiah 42:1 “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.”
The certainty that Isaiah’s prophecy is applicable to Jesus as the Messiah, is confirmed by the words of Matthew in chapter 12:14-21. Here the Apostle confirms this fact by stating that what Jesus was doing at that specific moment—was a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 42:1.
Matthew 12:14-21 Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him. But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. Yet He warned them not to make Him known, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.”
Isaiah begins his description of the Messiah as The Servant of the Lord. Starting at Chapter 42, the prophet describes the various acts of the coming Messiah as one who comes to do the will of God. Many scholars have labeled these prophecies as the Servant Songs, with verse 1 of Isaiah 42 being the first of four such songs.
The Messiah as God’s servant will also be God Himself. In order to fully present Himself as a servant to the Father, the Messiah will set aside some of His glory, power, and rights as God. This is vividly described in the text of Philippians Chapter 2:
Philippians 2:5- 8 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. 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.
Although Jesus is God and not subordinate to the Father, He willingly assumed the rank of a servant for our benefit. We see evidence of Jesus total surrender to the will of God in several statements that He makes concerning His relationship with God and purpose for coming to the world.
John 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
There are certain instances where we observe Jesus refusing to retain some of His rights as God. When Jesus came to earth on this first occasion as the Messiah, He did so in complete submission to the Father. He allowed the Jews to condemn Him unjustly for crimes He did not commit. He permitted the soldiers to arrest Him at the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus stood silent before Pilate to defend Himself. He willingly submitted His life for us by dying on the cross. Jesus took the complete wrath of God for all sins by His full consent.
When describing His return to earth at the Rapture, Jesus declared that He did not know the timing of this event. Yet it is clear that as God, Jesus knows all things. Jesus would not know the day or hour of His return for His church until after He had been resurrected from the dead and glorified once again.
Mark 13:32 (Jesus describing His return) But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
This has been a source of great confusion for some people. Not understanding the purpose of Jesus first appearance here on earth, some have assumed that Jesus is not God, since He did not know the time of His return. By referring to the Father as greater than I, this adds to the assumption that Jesus is only a man, who is seeking to be a servant to God.
Prophecy 201, from Isaiah 42:1, makes it clear that the Messiah will make Himself a servant to God in order to secure the salvation of all people. At the conclusion of His sacrifice for our sins, Jesus once again assumed all of His former rights as God. We should understand that when Jesus was here on earth as the Messiah and a servant to God, He did not cease to be God. This would not be possible. Jesus has always been God, and always will be God. Jesus voluntarily humbled Himself to set aside some of His rights in order to fulfill the prophecies of the Messiah, who would come as a servant of God for the salvation of all mankind.
As a servant to the Father, Jesus allows evil men to take Him by force and unjustly condemn Him to death, though He was innocent. All this, so that He could take our place at the judgment of God and pay the price of our salvation. When questioned about His guilt, Jesus offered no defense because He was representing us at the place of judgment. Since all human beings stand guilty before God and there is no valid excuse that we can offer in our defense, Jesus said nothing as He was repeatedly accused. See the chapter: The Illegal Trials of Jesus.
When the soldiers come to arrest Jesus, He allows them to take Him while at the same time, giving a very powerful reminder that He is still God and could take authority over all those who seek to kill Him, at any time. When the soldiers arrive, Jesus asks them who they are seeking. When He tells them, I am He, (I AM) the eternal name of God, the soldiers fall backwards to the ground. See Prophecy 75.
John 18:3-6 Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
As Pontius Pilate is questioning Jesus, he threatens Him with death because of His refusal to answer when spoken to. Jesus tells Pilate that the only authority he has over Him has been given to him by the Father.
John 19:10-11 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.”
This example of Jesus as a servant is one that all who claim to know Him should follow. We are to lay down our lives for each other and place others above ourselves. We should fully dedicate our lives to God, so that many other people can also come to know Him.
Matthew 20:25-28 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The pattern which has been established in the major churches today is disgraceful. Those in positions of authority over the people who attend certain churches, expect to be served and given greater honor. They wear colorful robes and hats which set them apart from the people whom they are supposed to be serving. In reality, those who are in these positions of leadership should humbly serve the people in the same way that Jesus laid down His life for all of us. Perhaps the leaders of the major denominations should take a turn in cleaning the toilets in the restrooms, mop the floors, and pick up trash in the parking lot. If Jesus were walking among us in the church today, these are the jobs that He would choose.
The Messiah came to be a servant and to lay His life down in obedient sacrifice for all of us. May we also follow His example and serve each other with humility, sincerity, and a deep sense of love.
 John 14:28 You have heard Me say to you, “I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.
 Exodus 3:14, “I AM”