Incarnation vs. Imitation

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” ~ John 13:4-5

As we began our new series SERVE at Northshore this weekend with “Called to Serve” (John 13:1-17), we talked about the truth that saved people serve people. In John 13, Jesus washes His disciples’ feet. But in reality, as Jesus dons the garb and posture of a servant, He’s pointing to something much larger. He’s pointing to an ultimate cleansing—a soul cleansing—a cleansing from the stench and stain of sin that He’ll accomplish on the cross. The Bible says that the wages and result of our sin is death and separation from God. Out of love, Jesus dies the death we should have died and pays the penalty we should have paid.

As Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, it’s a beautiful portrait of the God who serves, but if we miss what Jesus has done for us to save us from sin and death, we miss the most important thing. Jesus shows us the difference between Incarnation vs. Imitation. In serving people in the name of Jesus, we’re not merely imitating Jesus. Because Jesus has given His life for us…because He’s brought us back from the dead…because He’s put a new heart in us…now He lives in and through us. Now when we serve, we incarnate Jesus. We put flesh and bone on Jesus’ love for people. When we serve, we show the very heart of Jesus to the people we serve. It’s not about imitation. It’s about incarnation.

How is Jesus inviting and calling you to incarnate His love in your world?

New Series: SERVE


“We are most like Jesus when we serve like Jesus.” If you’re a follower of Jesus, you likely agree with this claim. But if we’re really honest, when we think of a servant, we often have a caricature of someone without meaning or purpose. Sort of a human mule who trudges through life. If that’s our view of a servant, we couldn’t be further from the truth. The portrait of a servant is best captured in Jesus Christ, and He was full of meaning and purpose.

Could it be that serving like Jesus actually gives us the meaning and purpose we’ve been looking for? Could it be that in serving like Jesus, might we actually find who we were created to be? In this new series SERVE, we’ll go on a journey together of discovering who God designed us to be, what He wants us to do, and how we become more like Jesus.

Here’s the schedule for the SERVE series:

November 3 – Called to Serve (John 13:1-17)

November 10 – Designed to Serve (1 Corinthians 12:11-18)

November 17 – Empowered to Serve (Ephesians 4:7-16)

November 24 – Released to Serve (John 14:12-14)

For more information on Northshore and our Sunday services, click HERE.