“But Jesus gave him no answer.” (John 19:9)
It’s speaking of the time Jesus stood before Pilate prior to His public execution. Think of the bold humility it took for Jesus to go through all of the events leading up to His betrayal, mock trial and humiliating crucifiction, and to settle for the kind of treatment He received before He died. As with everything, Jesus stands as our Paragon, our ultimate example.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
The depth to which we trust God determines the level to which we are willing to humble ourselves. And the level to which we will humble ourselves inversely shows the level to which God will exalt us. Jesus says “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoseoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12) If we really believe that God has our best interests at heart and that He wants to meet our needs as well as our wants and desires, then—and this might be a hard statement to accept—we should be willing to wait for God to show up and reward us rather than jumping the gun and seeking out what we would consider necessities but are really just niceties. Creature comforts. I won’t label anything specifically but if anything strikes you as fitting into that description, pray about it.
“Lord, Thou hast heard the desire of the humble: Thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.” (Psalm 10:17)
There are many aspects of life that require humility in order for God to come in and move around by His Holy Spirit. From accepting Jesus as savior, to denying yourself daily, to letting people walk on you (turning the other cheek) to praying and forgiving when you’re taken advantage of. And then building up the perpetrator of your misery if you get the opportunity when said person falters and fails after they’ve used you as a stepping stone—and then fallen from grace. The cycle repeats itself and humility is always acceptable in God’s sight.
“Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8)
It slowly dawned on me, having read through the Gospels many times growing up, that Jesus was a very popular figure during the time of His public ministry. And that tens of thousands of people surrounded His entourage. This might be common knowledge to an adult, but as a kid, it wasn’t part of my visualization in these stories. It is now. I suppose it came concurrently with the realization of just how many and varied people there are in the world. Humanly speaking, He became through His miracles and His preaching, a cross between an iconoclast, a philanthropist, a visionary and a rock star. And something that is greater than the sum of all of these. Were it only a human story, as He said, “then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews”. (John 18:36) But since Jesus is also God and because He came from the Father, pride and accolades and shallow honor have no bearing on who He is. He humbled Himself and shed all of those labels and connotations to fulfill God’s call on His life.
And God’s call is on everyone’s life.
“For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Hebrews 12: 3-4) Here’s the thing, we may not be called to die for our faith. But anyone who would flatter and falsely build us up in pride is not doing us any favors, either. I’d wager to say that anyone (ourselves included) who would try and make us more than God says we are, will ultimately lead us away from who God says we can and will become.
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:5-7)