Humility In the Teaching of Jesus
"Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart" (Matthew 11:29). "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant, even as the Son of Man came to serve" (Matthew 20:27)
We have seen humility in the life of Christ, as He laid open His heart to us: let us listen to His teaching. There we shall hear how He speaks of it, and how far He expects men, and specially His disciples, to be humble as He was. Let us carefully study the passages, which I can scarce to more than quote, to receive the full impression of how often and how earnestly He taught it: it may help us to realize what He asks of us.
1. Look at the commencement of His ministry. In the Beatitudes with which the Sermon on the Mount opens, He speaks: "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth." The very first words of His proclamation of the kingdom of heaven reveal the open gate through which alone we enter. The poor, who have nothing in themselves, to them the kingdom comes. The meek, who seek nothing in themselves, theirs the earth shall be. The blessings of heaven and earth shall be. The blessings of heaven and earth are for the lowly. For the heavenly and the earthly life, humility is the secret of blessing.
2. "Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly of heart, and he shall find rest for your souls." Jesus offers Himself as Teacher. He tells us what the spirit both is, which we shall find in Him as Teacher, and which we can learn and receive from Him. Meekness and lowliness is the one thing He offers us; in it we shall find perfect rest of soul. Humility is to be our salvation.
3. The disciples had been disputing who would be the greatest in the kingdom, and had agreed to as the Master (Luke 9:46; Matthew 18:3). He set a child in their midst, and said, "Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, shall be exalted." "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" The question is indeed a far-reaching one. What will be the chief distinction in the heavenly kingdom? The answer, none but Jesus would have given. The chief glory of heaven, the true heavenly-mindedness, the chief of the graces, is humility. "He that is least among you, the same shall be great."
4. The sons of Zebedee had asked Jesus to sit on His right and left, the highest place in the kingdom. Jesus said it was not His to give, but the Father's, who would give it to those for whom it was prepared. They must not look or ask for it. Their thought must be of the cup and the baptism of humiliation. And then He added, "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. Even as the Son of Man came to serve." Humility, as it is the mark of Christ the heavenly, will be the one standard of glory in heaven: the lowliest is the nearest to God. The primacy in the Church is promised to the humblest.
(continued with # 9 - Number Five in the List)