The Humility of Jesus: A Model for Servant Leadership

In a world that often exalts power, dominance, and self-promotion, the life and teachings of Jesus Christ offer a refreshing and countercultural perspective on leadership. At the heart of Jesus’ leadership style is his profound humility, which serves as a timeless model for servant leadership. By examining key scriptures, we can gain valuable insights into the humility of Jesus and learn how we too can embody this humble approach in our own leadership endeavors.

  1. The Example of Washing the Disciples’ Feet (John 13:1-17): One of the most iconic displays of Jesus’ humility occurred during the Last Supper. As his disciples gathered, Jesus, the Son of God, took on the role of a servant and washed their feet. In this act, Jesus demonstrated that true leadership is not about asserting authority but rather about selfless service. He stated, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). This remarkable act challenges leaders to prioritize the needs of others and humbly serve those they lead.
  2. The Call to Humble Ourselves (Matthew 20:25-28): In this scripture, Jesus addressed his disciples’ desire for positions of power and authority. He emphasized that true greatness lies in humble service, stating, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28). Jesus teaches that leaders should not seek positions for personal gain but rather embrace a sacrificial attitude, putting the needs of others above their own.
  3. Jesus’ Teachings on Humility (Luke 14:7-11): In this passage, Jesus taught his followers about the importance of humility. He advised them not to seek seats of honor at banquets but rather to choose a lower place, allowing the host to invite them to a higher place. Jesus declared, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11). This teaching emphasizes the need for leaders to embrace a posture of humility, recognizing that it leads to true honor and recognition in the eyes of both God and others.
  4. The Humility of Jesus’ Incarnation (Philippians 2:5-8): The ultimate act of humility is found in Jesus’ incarnation. The Apostle Paul beautifully captures this truth in his letter to the Philippians, stating, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). Jesus willingly laid aside his divine glory to identify with humanity, serving and ultimately sacrificing his life for the redemption of humanity. This remarkable act underscores the essence of servant leadership—putting others’ needs above our own.

Leave a Reply