Humility: The Beauty of Holiness # 3
The Humanity of Jesus
"I am among you as he that serves" (Luke 22:27)
In the gospel of John, we have the inner life of our Lord laid open to us. Jesus speaks frequently of His relationship to the Father, the motives by which He is guided, and His knowledge of the power and spirit in which He acts. Though the word "humble" does not occur, there is no other place in Scripture where we see His humility so clearly. We have already said that this attribute is nothing more than the simple consent of the creature to let God be all, in which the creature surrenders itself to His working alone. In Jesus we will see how both as the Son of God in heaven and as man upon earth, He took the place of total servitude, and gave God the honor and the glory which is due Him. What He taught about humility was made true in Himself: He that humbles himself shall be exalted. As it is written, He humbled Himself, Therefore, God also has highly exalted him.
Listen to the words in which our Lord speaks of His relationship to the Father, and notice how often He uses the words "not" and "nothing", of Himself. The "not I," in which Paul expresses his relationship to Christ, is the very spirit of what Christ says of His relationship to the Father.
"The Son can do nothing of himself" (John 5:19)
"I can of my own self do nothing; as I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just because I seek not my own will (John 5:30)
"I do not receive glory from men" (John 5:41)
"For I came down from the heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me" (John 6:38)
"My doctrine is not mine" (John 7:16)
"I have not come of myself" (John 7:28)
"I do nothing of myself" (John 8:28)
"Neither did I come of myself, but he sent me" (John 8:42).
"I seek not my own glory" (John 8:50)
"The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself" (John 14:10)
"The word which ye have heard is not mine" (John 14:24)
These words open to us the deepest roots of Christ's life and work. They tell us how it was possible for the almighty God to work His mighty redemptive work through Christ. They show what Christ considered the state of His heart in His position as the Son of the Father. They teach us what the essential nature and life is, which Christ accomplished and now communicates through His Word. It is this: He was nothing, that God might be all. He submitted Himself with His will and His powers entirely for the Father to work in Him. Of His own power, His own will, and His own glory, He did not consider Himself, but gave Himself completely to the Father. Of His whole mission with all His words and His teaching, of all this He said, "I am nothing, the Father is all."
This life of entire self-denial, of absolute submission and dependence upon the Father's will, Christ found to be one of perfect peace and joy. He lost nothing by giving all to God. God honored His trust, did all for Him, and then exalted Him to His own right hand in glory. Because Christ humbled Himself in this way before God, and sought God in all things, He found it possible to humble Himself before men too, and to be the servant of all. His humility was simply the surrender of Himself to God, to allow God to do in Him what He pleased. It didn't matter to Him what men might say about Him or do to Him.
It is in this state of mind, in this spirit and disposition, that the redemption of Christ has its value and effectiveness. The very reason we are made partakers of Christ is to bring us to this disposition. This is the true self-denial to which our Saviour calls us, the acknowledgment that self has nothing good in it, except as an empty vessel which God must fill. Its claim to be or do anything may not for a moment be allowed. It is in this, above and before everything, in which the conformity to Jesus exists, the being and doing nothing of ourselves, that God may be all.
Here we have the root and nature of true humility. It is because this is not understood nor pursued, that our humility is so superficial and feeble. We must learn from Jesus, how He is meek and lowly of heart. He teaches us where true humility takes its proper place and find its strength. This happens when we take hold of the knowledge that it is God who works all in all, that our responsibility is to yield to Him in perfect surrender and dependence, in full compliance to be and to do nothing of ourselves. Christ came to reveal and pass on a life to God that came through death to sin and self. If we feel this life is too difficult for us and beyond our reach, it must motivate us even more to seek it in Him. It is the indwelling Christ who will live in us this life, meek and lowly. If we long for this, let us above everything, seek the holy secret of the knowledge of the nature of God. The secret which all of nature, every creature, and every child of God is to be the witness, is the realization that it is nothing but a vessel, a channel, through which the living God can manifest the riches of His wisdom, power, and goodness. The root of all goodness and grace, of all faith and acceptable worship, is that we know we have nothing but what we receive, and how to in deepest humility to wait upon God for it.
This humility was not simply a fleeting thought, wakened up and exercised when He thought of God, but the very expression of His whole life. Jesus was just as humble in His relationship with men as with God. He considered Himself to be the servant of God for the men whom God made and loved. As a natural consequence, He considered Himself to be the servant of men, that through Him God might do His work of love. He never for a moment thought to seek His own honor, or declare His power to defend Himself. His whole attitude was that of a life yielded to God. It is not until Christians study the humility of Jesus as the very essence of His redemption, as the only true relationship to the Father, that the terrible lack of actual, heavenly humility will become a burden and a sorrow. Our ordinary religion must be set aside and we must receive humility from Jesus. This humility is evidence of Christ within us.
Brothers and sisters, are you clothed with humility? Ask your daily life. Ask Jesus. Ask your friends. Ask the world. Begin to praise God that there is opened up to you, in Jesus, a heavenly humility of which you have hardly known, a humility through which blessings you possibly have never yet experienced can come in to you.
(continued with # 4 - Humility In The Teaching of Jesus