“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

These words declare Christ’s preexistence. His voluntary entrance into the conditions of humanity, and His setting aside of the glory that He had with the Father before the world was. We shall never understand the Servant Christ until we understand that He is the Eternal Son of the Father. His service began long before any of His acts of sympathetic and self-forgetting lowliness rendered help to us here on earth. His service began when He laid aside not the garments of earth but the raiment of heaven and clothed Himself with the flesh of our humanity. This was the first, the primary act of His service, and the sanctity and awesomeness of it run through the list of all His deeds and make them unspeakably great. It was incredible that His hands could heal, that His lips should comfort, that His heart should bleed with sympathy for sorrow. But, oh, it more that He had hands to touch, lips to speak to human hearts, and the heart of a man and a brother to feel with as well as for us. That He came is the transcendent example of the true use of greatness; there is the conspicuous instance of the true basis of authority and rule. But then, beyond this, we may dwell upon the features of that wonderful life of self-sacrificing service. Think of the purity of the source from which all these wonders and blessedness of service for man flowed. The life of Jesus is self-forgetting love made visible, presenting in shapes of loveliness and symmetry the otherwise invisible music of divine love. He lets us see the rhythm of the Father’s heart.

Adapted from “In His Presence”