Servanthood: An Old Testament Teaching

Christopher Rath


The Greatest As The Least

Matt. 20:26b: - "Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave."

Was this idea of the First serving the rest a new idea Jesus was presenting to the disciples? Was it a revelation to them?

This concept was not new to Jesus. The idea existed from the beginning of God's plan. However, it was probably a revelation to the disciples! Just as it's a revelation to us when we first read or hear Jesus words. To see that this was indeed an old idea, renewed, let's look at the word servant as it's found in the Old Testament.

O.T. Servants

There are several Hebrew words which are translated as "servant", in English.

"Ebed." Generally means "a slave or a servant." It applies to:

"Abad." "Generally means to work and (in any sense) to serve." It applies to:

"Sakiyr." "Generally means a person who works for wages." It applies to:

"Sharath." "Usually means a person who is a doer of menial and insignificant tasks. It applies to:

Applying Servanthood

What does all of this mean? Let's go back over the different specific usages of the word servant and see if we can draw some analogies to our Christian life today. For example, "dresses or keeps a garden." The leaders God raises up within the body are to "dress and keep God's vineyard, the Church of Jesus Christ" (Jn 15:5).


All quotations taken from The Making Of A Leader, by Frank Damazio, unless otherwise noted.
All scriptural quotes taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.

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Last updated: 2007/02/16 @ 09:53:03 ( )