Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
In this encounter with Jesus, these words were spoken to a very proud group of Pharisees. Because it was the Sabbath day, these devout Jewish men silently resisted Jesus’ offer to enter into His concern and the work of caring for a very sick man. It was in the context of a gathering to which Jesus was invited at the home of one of the rulers of the Pharisees. They apparently invited Him in order to examine Him, or as Luke 14:1 says, “they watched Him closely.” Perhaps they subscribed that old, distrustful saying, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” Within about a year, these same Pharisees were at the center of the plan to arrest and crucify Jesus. There was no love in what they were doing. They weren’t willing to humble themselves, so they could not see what God was doing, even when it was right in front of them.
It may surprise you, but we can be quite certain that Jesus accepted the invitation to have dinner with these men because it was at the heart of His mission. He loved them. Jesus told one of their nationally recognized leaders, a man named Nicodemus, what we so dearly love as John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The love of God, (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) motivates and underscores every word and every action of God toward every human being. But when we refuse His simple directive to humble ourselves, we keep ourselves from the love and healing that is in His hands. The greatest of all the great things of God is love.
However, Jesus didn’t limit His teaching about humbling oneself to those who opposed Him. On the contrary, He drilled this command into His disciples on a number of occasions recorded in the four Gospels (Matthew 20:20-28, for example). Yes, they were the chosen disciples of the very Lord who created all things (John 1:1-4; Colossians 1:15-18). As such some of them envisioned a movement of power and superiority. But Jesus had something much more important for them, and for us who believe in Him, while we remain here in the world where people are turned away from Him, the world of sin. Jesus did not come into the world He created in order to be served. He came to serve and to give His life. Jesus clearly directed His disciples to expect to be people like Him; servants on the way of salvation, who humble themselves as He did, and who become messengers of the ransom price that redeems the souls of women and men, boys and girls, and serve folks the invitation to believe and follow Him.
“Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:6-7
The love of God is needed where you are right now. Jesus has poured His love into you, so pour it out upon whomever you next meet. Trust Him to supply the power, as you humble yourself and pour out the love.
Pastor Rich Marshall