Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.John 12:26 NIV
Can a person be saved if they do not serve the Lord Jesus? I know all too many people who seem to believe that it is enough to make a profession of faith in Jesus, attend worship services somewhat regularly, and live a good life. But that seems somewhat at odds with what Jesus has to say here, and in many other places.
Three times in this verse, he mentions either serving or being a servant. The one who would serve Jesus must follow him wherever he leads. Following and serving go hand in hand. If we are following Jesus, then we will be where he is. Another way to say that is that if we are servants, we will be where Jesus is. The implication is that if we do not follow and serve him, we will not be where he is.
And he concludes by saying that the Father will honor the one who serves the Son. This is very reminiscent of Matthew 25:21, where the master honors the faithful servant telling him, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Don’t be content with sitting on the sidelines. Roll up your sleeves and get to work, serving our Lord as he has called you. Serving, not to be saved. But because you have been called to follow and to serve. And as you do, you will be with Jesus and will be honored by the Father.