Humility And Power
The Servant King Lord Jesus has assured the humble of not only entry into His kingdom of heaven but also an inheritance on the earth rewarding them till eternity.

Humility And Power

          Lord Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount lays emphasis on meekness and humility for the Beatitudes start with the ‘poor in spirit’ assuring them of kingdom of heaven. And then ‘the meek’ are promised their inheritance on the earth (Matthew 5:3 &5). Humility and an attitude of service towards others is the basic essence of the character of a true believer, as commanded by the Messiah Lord. On the one side our good behavior is appreciated by the Lord while on the other evil intent in us is exploited by the devil to control us. Being humble is not an option but a necessity for living in the heavenly realm with the Lord.

         Moses and humility – After bringing out the criticism of Moses by Miriam and Aaron for his marriage to an Ethiopian woman and questioning Moses’ close relationship, the Scripture describes that ‘the man Moses was very humble, more than any other man on the earth’ (Numbers 12:1-3). God blesses the humble for He declared, ‘on this one will I look; on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit’ (Isaiah 66:2). King Solomon laid down the benefits, ‘before honor is humility’ and that ‘with the humble is wisdom’ (Proverbs 18:12 & 11:2). Lord Jesus provided the route to become the greatest through being the least (Luke 9:48). Apostle Peter also emphasized the same, ‘God lifts up the humble at the right time and He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble’ (1 Peter 5:5-6) and who does not need grace of God.

      The Beatitudes start with ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ and then goes on to ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:3 & 5). Meekness suggests to many as one who is spineless, weak or easily imposed upon but Lord declared Himself to be meek but He was not a pushover (Matthew 11:29). Greek word ‘praus’ is translated as meek but it means ‘strength brought under control’ like a wild horse tamed to the bridle. Meek is the one who has channeled his strengths to the service of God and this is what Moses was (Numbers 12:3). Scripture defines meek as ‘those who have kept YHWH God’s ordinances’ (Zephaniah 2:3) since a meek person submits to God to become tranquil and untroubled. They find true joy in all situations, for the earth that they have received is not for fulfillment of their desires but as an inheritance to glorify God.

       Poor in spirit is the next step to meekness and is one who realizes his sinfulness and separation from God and that the breach can only be bridged by God’s grace and then looks unto the Savior Lord for His grace. King David declared that ‘this poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them’ (Psalm 34:6-7). David was a man of God’s heart and understood true surrender to God in humility. Meekness increases the thirst to know more of God, to get closer to Him for God spoke to Moses face to face and twice he was for 40 days in God’s presence. God’s glory filled the tent of meeting to talk to him yet this humble man desired to know more of Him to cry out, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me Your glory and God’s glory passed before him for God was pleased at His request (Exodus 33:18-23).

      God revealed the spring of the Holy Spirit flowing from God’s throne with depth ranging from ankle, to knee, to waist deep and then a depth to swim in and nobody can find the other end (Ezekiel 47:1-6). The more we go close the more He reveals Himself and the only condition is surrender in humility realizing my nothingness and emptiness. Many are, however, willing to sit on the shore without an urge to know more of God. ‘I am meek and humble of heart’ was and is Lord Jesus’ self declared identity and that is what we are supposed to become under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

        Humility and pride contrasted – Opposite of humility is pride and pride says I can do on my own; false humility says, God has done it not me; whereas true humility is I have done this with God’s grace. Not acknowledging God’s hand in any success is disowning His power and is prideful. Simon a Pharisee invited Lord Jesus to dine at his house while the Pharisees were opposed to Him for He exposed their double standards (Luke 7:36-50). But why would He want to go to the Pharisee’s house?  The Messiah revealed His mission ‘to call the sinners to repentance’ and this cannot be done without meeting with them (Luke 5:32).   It was common practice then to tell others when a Rabbi was coming for dinner to someone’s house and it meant an open court for others to sit on the sides to listen to the conversation.

       In this setting a woman waited, expecting a great welcome for the Lord and then to step forward to anoint His feet with perfume. The Pharisee’s purpose of inviting Him was to prove wrong what he had heard about Lord Jesus while the woman wanted to prove and honor what she had heard through her worship. Thus Simon’s real purpose was to put Him to test, show to others his status and humiliate the Savior. Nothing could hold either of them back for the devil blinded Simon to the truth while the Spirit revealed more to the seeking woman. Pained by what she saw the sinful woman started washing His feet with her tears and cleaning with her hair for she had no bowl or water jar but tears flowed on her self-realization and in this unplanned work she had no towel so hair of the head to wipe Lord Jesus’ feet. Simon the Pharisee’s reaction ‘if He were a prophet He would know what sort of woman she is’ (Luke 7:39). The Pharisees were always proper criticizing others while remaining separated from others for fear of becoming unclean and displayed their expertise to have the right answers to everything.

      The woman was in no rush but persisted kissing His feet and cleansing with her tears. Her cost for this daring step was firstly, social about disdain and rejection of the self righteous Pharisees; their looks of scorn implying what are you doing here; and also financial for she brought a very expensive perfume to anoint the Lord’s feet. The Savior Lord was touched by the woman’s devotion and ‘He turned to the woman’ and for this He had to turn His back to Simon the Pharisee. Situation was thus reversed and the Pharisee was told his shortcomings – no water to wash His feet, no kiss of welcome and no anointing of head with oil. The woman was commended for her acts of worship (Luke 7:44-46).

       Lessons from the woman – The humble adoration by the woman teaches us that worship is for sinners; it is at Lord Jesus’ feet; it is about total focus on Him alone; not about receiving something but giving something; worship involves emotions and feelings; no words are essential it is from the heart and soul; cannot be easily hindered for the resolute will reach the object of worship whatever be the cost.

       What is true humility? – True humility is recognized by others and not proclaimed from rooftops and humility of the Roman Centurion and his love for others was well known (Luke 7:1-9). This centurion’s servant was sick but he displayed same concern for the servant as one would for a close relative. He entreated the local Jewish leaders to request the Lord to come to his house to heal the servant. The first impression is of arrogance of a Roman officer to summon the Lord to his house but the Jewish leaders talked about the reasons for the Lord to go that he deserves, loves our nation and had helped build the local synagogue. The All-knowing Lord Jesus was aware of the reality and agreed to go but while He was yet a little distance from his house, the centurion had self realization. He sent some other Jews to the Lord to not come to his house, saying, ‘I am not worthy to have You under my roof; and I did not even think myself worthy to come to You’ to stand in Your worthy presence. Lord Jesus appreciated the exemplary humility of the Roman officer and commended his extraordinary faith. The Centurion mentioned his position of authority and obedience to and by others to highlight humility in unquestioned obedience (Luke 7: 6-9).  

         After struggling the whole night with no result to catch fish Simon Peter put the net down into water in obedience to Lord Jesus’ command. He and his friends caught so much fish that they had to call for another boat and then both boats were sinking with the weight of the fish. Realizing the Divine status of Lord Jesus, Simon Peter cried out ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord’ (Luke 5:7- 8). Moses standing before the LORD in the Burning Bush put across various excuses to avoid going to Egypt (Exodus 3-4) to finally say ‘send someone else’ (Exodus 4:13). But after accepting the task, he obeyed diligently with the singular aim of glorifying God in all that he did. It was this obedience that allowed him to stand before God to seek forgiveness for his people for the sin of making the golden calf and say ‘remove my name from Your book if You do not want to forgive them’ (Exodus 32:32). For he perceived non forgiveness by God as an act against God’s glory defining humility as obedience but to also stand up for what is right.

       ‘Satan entered Judas Iscariot’ and also sought the other 11’to sift you as wheat’ but Lord Jesus prayed for them, ‘that your faith should not fail’ (Luke 22:3 & 31-32). Prophet Elijah challenged King Ahab and his wife Jezebel for their sins and was sent by the LORD to the Cherith brook and later to the widow of Zarephath. God arranged plentiful supply of food for him in both locations and even sent an angel to feed him when he fled in fear after winning a great spiritual battle against the prophets of Baal. Elijah was humble to identify himself as one ‘who stands before the LORD God of Israel’ (1 Kings 17:2) and the LORD God lifted him up.

          All Psalms are about worship of God in all humility to make a plea and surrender to the Lord for they were aware that He will lift them up or else the devil will bring you down. He prays for the humble and lifts them up, sends His angels to help when needed. He lifted up the ‘sinner’ woman and her sins were forgiven; He appreciated the Centurion’s faith and healed his servant. Those who surrender before the Lord in all humility are blessed by Him to be lifted up for without bowing down even worship will also not be possible. It is our choice to be filled with pride and be like Simon the Pharisee or be humble like the sinner woman, the Centurion or Moses!

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