Humbleness is a critical but elusive character for elders. I am ill-equipped to speak on this subject, as one who falls continually short, but I come as an admirer of Christ’s humbleness. Who of us could arrogate to himself the task of teaching others about humbleness? So what can be said about this subject then, without relegating myself to the status of hypocrite?
I invite you to join with me in simply observing the humbleness of Christ, with the hope that by so doing we may in some small measure begin to emulate that characteristic in our lives. After all we are told repeatedly in Scripture to fix our eyes, thoughts, minds and hearts on Christ.
First, we are using the word “humbleness” and “humility” as interchangeable. One definition of what we are talking about is this: “A condition of lowliness or affliction in which one experiences a loss of power and prestige. Outside of biblical faith, humility in this sense would not usually be considered a virtue.”
This can be seen in the overarching description of Christ’s mission: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9, NASB).
Obviously, the text is not referring to money. After all, what does it mean to be “rich” when He created and owns everything in existence? The Lord Jesus assumed a condition of lowliness or affliction; He willingly experienced a loss of power and prestige. He set aside His glory.
Let’s bring the magnifying glass of observation into focus. How was He humbled?
As the Absolute, Eternal One, infinite in every way, He was humbled just by taking on limitation of human flesh.
As a Teacher, He was humbled by those who didn’t understand His teachings.
As a Prophet, He was humbled by those who rejected His message.
As the Light of the World, He was humbled by those who loved darkness rather than light.
As the Bread of Life, He was humbled by those who refused to take and eat, as it were, His words seriously.
He who gives the River of Living Water, was humbled by those parched, hoarse voices that wanted to dam up the spring.
As the rightful King of Israel, He was humbled when the people cried out to Pilate, “We have no king but Caesar.”
As the Good Shepherd, He was humbled when all like sheep went astray.
As the Great Shepherd, He was humbled when He was led like a sheep to the slaughter.
As the Great Discipler, He was humbled when His disciples just didn’t get it.
As the Foundation Stone, He was humbled to see His followers building their lives on the shifting sands of worry, fret and fear.
As the Alpha and Omega (The Beginning and the End), He was humbled by those who tried to terminate His existence.
As Jehovah-Jireh (The God Who Provides), He was humbled when all that He owned was divided up by soldiers at the foot of the cross.
As El Shaddai (The Almighty God), He was humbled when too weak to carry His own cross.
As Elohim (The Creator God), He was humbled when humans, the pinnacle of His creation, put Him to death.
As Jehovah(The Covenant-Keeping God), He was humbled when was He forsaken by His Father.
As Jehovah-rophe (The Lord Who Heals), He was humbled when He died from unhealed wounds incurred on a Roman cross.
As Jehovah-nissi (The Lord our Banner), He was humbled when a banner was put up over the cross mocking Him as King of Jews.
As Jehovah M’kaddesh (The Lord Who Makes Holy), He was humbled when treated like a common criminal and executed in a debased, despicable way.
As Jehovah-shalom (The Lord Our Peace), He was humbled by unresolved conflict and a violent death that could not be averted.
As Jehovah-Tsidkenu (The Lord our Righteousness), He was humbled when He took on our unrighteousness, as Scripture says, “He who knew no sin became sin for us.”
As the Judge of all earth, He was humbled by being judged as a criminal by a religious, kangaroo court.
He who is a Refuge for the fearful was humbled when He Himself had no refuge to flee to from the wrath of God.
He who is our High Tower was humbled when He was laid in a cold, damp grave.
He who is Savior was humbled when taunted for not being able to save Himself.
He who is Logos, the Living Word of God, was humbled by the constant barrage of words and invectives at Him.
He who is the Great “I Am” was humbled when for three days people thought He was the Great “I was.”
Now, THAT is humility. If we truly want to be humble, let us meditate on the humbleness of Christ! The only way is to fix our eyes on the Lord Jesus, our example, par excellence.