Humility and Humbleness
By Pastor Dennis Yim
New Testament Passage: John 13: 1-5
Before the Passover
celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return
to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now
he loved them to the very end. 2 It was time for supper, and
the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus
knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had
come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the
table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and
poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying
them with the towel he had around him.
The Way of Humility and Humbleness
What does it mean to be a disciple? What does it mean to love our neighbors as God loves us? What does it mean to participate in God’s story of redemption? What does service even mean? We won’t understand the answers to those questions unless we understand the humiliation and humbleness of Christ, our Master. Imagine with me, the King of kings coming before you, kneeling, taking off your shoes and socks after a long weary day of work, and washing them. How would you feel? Embarrassed? Shocked? Maybe even offended? Peter was offended when Jesus washed his feet, he couldn’t believe that his King was willing to serve his “lowly” servants. But this perfectly captures the love of Christ.
To be a disciple is to be one who follows the words and deeds of Christ. To love our neighbors as God loves us means that we love them by walking in the humiliation and humbleness in Christ; we are no better than our Master, therefore, there is nothing for us to be prideful about in ourselves, for all that we’ve received from Jesus Christ is a gracious gift. To participate in God’s story of redemption means that we are called to move towards the broken, the lost, the social-outcasts, those who feel as though they are unlovable, unredeemable, and those who are longing for some kind of hope, love and peace in their lives; we are called to enter into their lives and to walk with them. Service is always Gospel-centric and that means it’s always filled with humility and humbleness. When we serve others, we are actively washing their feet. We are meeting their needs – both physical and spiritual. We never serve to find some validation in our identity as disciples of Christ; rather, we serve because we are disciples of Christ.
Humility and humbleness are offensive words in
our culture today. Our society loves strong, prideful, all-knowing, those who have
it all together kind of leadership. However, Jesus Christ is nothing like what
our culture deems to be a great leader. A leader to walk in humility and
humbleness is not simply frowned upon, rather it is mocked. But to truly love
and to serve our neighbors is to walk in the humility and humbleness in Christ.
For the proud will never seek to bring restoration and reconciliation in other
people’s lives, no, rather they seek to find ways to take advantage of them for
their own gain. As we follow Christ, let’s remember this truth: as Jesus humbly
washed His disciples’ feet, He was aware of His royalty while at the same time
was overflowing with a love that loves to the uttermost. In our union with
Jesus Christ, we have been brought into His royal family so that as we humbly
serve others, we can rest assure that our service is our expression of God’s
love to the world. Live in the humility and humbleness of Christ and allow Him
to use you to bring redemption and restoration in the world.
Reflection and Prayer
Take some time to reflect with your family and friends on how discipleship is marked with the humbleness and humiliation of Christ. Pray that God would help you to follow Christ by walking in His humiliation and humbleness. Pray that the Lord would help you to love others to the uttermost as you learn to serve them with a humble heart.
Look on us, O Lord, and let all the darkness of our souls vanish before the beams of your brightness. Fill us with holy love, and open to us the treasures of your wisdom. All our desires are known to you, therefore complete what you have begun, and what your Spirit has awakened us to ask in prayer. We seek your face, turn your face to us and show us your glory. Then will our longing be satisfied, and our peace shall be perfect. Amen. – Prayer for Perfect Love by St. Augustine