I recently finished reading a great little book on humility, and as is right, it pointed my mind and heart often to the humility of Jesus. The very idea that Jesus was humble is captivating and astonishing. The truth of God regarding humility via Paul in Philippians (which I’ve written a short blog about here) is astonishing:
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, and became obedient to death, even death on a cross!” Philippians 2
Doesn’t that knock the wind out of you? Jesus, the Lord of glory, became God in the flesh. After reading that statement, I’m surprised again to find that the universe is still in its place; that the sky has not fallen and creation caved in on itself in surprise at the fact that the Lord of glory made himself nothing and became a servant.
So, how could this happen? What is the basis for the King of glory being humbled? We see it clearly in John 13:3-5.
“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
Notice what these verses say about the ground for Jesus’ depiction of humility:
- All things were under his power
- He had come from God
- He was returning to God
His power was absolute, SO he served his disciples. He had come from God, SO he washed their feet. He was returning to God, SO he humbled himself.
The basis for Christ’s humility was that there was nothing to be gained from mankind. All power was his already. His authority was complete, and he knew it. At any moment he could have instantly wiped away the entirety of creation. He had no need for praise from men. The mockery of men bore him no injury. Worries about self-worth were non-existent. Why? Because he knew that he was ultimately powerful, ultimately worthy, no matter what men did to him or thought of him.
Moreover, his humility came from the fact that he came from the Father; he had been sent for a purpose. Not only this, but he also knew that he was returning to the Father; that he would be in perfect fellowship with him again no matter what happened on earth. He knew with no shadow of doubt that all which passed on earth would fade into the light of glory once again.
Christ’s absolute sovereignty + his purpose given by God + the promise of glory = the ability to humble himself
Humility does not come from thinking that others are more valuable and you are less valuable. True humility will not come if you find contentment and satisfaction in how others think of you or treat you. Humility will not come without an eye to the past, and to the future. To be humble means that you need nothing from others to be satisfied, and so you are able to give. Your cup is continually full, and thus you can pour yourself out for others freely.
Humility comes by:
- Recognizing you are united to Christ and his sovereignty
- Delighting in obedience to the purposes for which God has created you
- Unwavering faith that the priceless reward of glory will come
Trust in God’s power, delight in your purpose, cherish the promise. Be humble.