Friday, May 29, 2009

humility

i love that there are 4 gospels written by 4 different men. they each saw an angle on the life and teachings of Jesus and each chose from so many stories and events exactly what they felt moved by the Holy Spirit to emphasize.

i think it is so interesting in my recent reading of the gospel according to luke that the first story he chose to write on, the only gospel writer who included a story giving us a glimpse of Jesus as a child, was one on His humility.

in luke 2 we read about one of the many times when Jesus and his family went to Jerusalem for the feast of passover. luke mentions that Jesus was 12 years old, which i think is very significant to his story. we know that Jesus was strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him. (luke 2:40) He already was no ordinary child. as much as Jesus was fully man, He was at the same time fully God.

in the hustle and bustle of a busy celebration in the capitol city of jerusalem, it is not hard for me as a parent of 3 young boys to imagine mary and joseph losing track of young Jesus. in my perspective, they probably assumed He was with another family member, with His brothers, or some of His friends. although my oldest child right now is only 5, i do not imagine them being overly concerned that Jesus would wander off from the group at the age of 12. in fact, luke records that they actually traveled home with their group who came up from nazareth for an entire day before they realized He was missing.

when they got back to jerusalem, probably an entire day of traveling back (making it 2 days without their son at that point), it took them another 3 whole days to track Him down. the panic that would set into any mom's heart at that point would be tremendous. i mean, even though they knew Jesus was the messiah that was promised to come, we have to remember that His parents were just like us with the emotions, fears, and struggles as parents.

in luke 2:46 the story continues:
after three days they found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers. When His parents saw Him, they were astonished. His mother said to Him, "son, why have you treated us like this? your father and i have been anxiously searching for you."
"why were you searching for me?" He asked. "didn't you know i had to be in my Father's house?"

it is amazing to me to see that at the young age of 12, before most boys hit puberty, Jesus was filled with so much strength, wisdom, and grace of God that He was ready for public ministry. He was fully God, and yet fully man; so young, and yet so ready. so why do we not read another story of Jesus teaching, ministering, fulfilling His calling in His first coming until He is thirty years old?
but they did not understand what He was saying to them. luke 2:50

mary and joseph, the two parents God the Father entrusted the care of Jesus to did not recognize that He was ready. of all the people in the world who seem to should have seen Jesus for who He was and support what He was going to do as the Messiah that had been promised for ages, it would seem that those closest to Him, his very family, would recognize His wisdom, His annointing, His time. but they did not. they did not understand why He would be in the temple courts and felt that He has disrepected them as His parents. they were hurt by what He had done.

so what did Jesus do? this is the part that blows my mind.
then He went down to nazareth with them and was obedient to them. but his mother treasured all these things in her heart. luke 2:51
of all people, Jesus had the right to do what He was called to do when He was fully able. Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah, had every right to demand His rights and recognition of man. but He did not demand it. He did not explain Himself to save His reputation. He did exactly what was demanded of Him and His humility was so powerful that it is the only other time it is written of His mother mary that she treasured these things in her heart. He moved the hearts of those who did not give Him recognition, respect, or value His abilities and giftings by choosing to humble Himself and be obedient when He had done no wrong.

Jesus chose to wait another 18 years to go into public ministry because He valued humility and honoring those who God had chosen for Him as His earthly authority. i am so moved by His humility because He didn't have to do it. He did not have to go back to nazareth, where it is recorded people never did recognize Him as any more than the carpenter's son. He chose a life of hiddenness, humility, and servanthood, choosing to give honor instead of demanding honor and He didn't have to do it. He did not retreat home in weakness and shame. no. humility is not weakness, it is strength restrained by choice.

the amazing thing to me is that He did it as so much more than to be an example to me of how to live my life, though i do believe that is true. He chose humility because that is who He is. He is humble. in philippians 2, the apostle paul wrote:
although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, {and} being made in the likeness of men. being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. for this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name...
how often in our american culture do we hear it encouraged from anywhere that we should put ourselves on the backseat and allow our strengths and what we have to offer be overlooked? how often are we instead encouraged to show off all that we excel in and to grasp for our place in the spotlight? yet, Jesus is humble in everything He is, and because of His humility God exalted Him. our world does not esteem humility. i know that i personally struggle with esteeming the path of humility in my own life. so many other focuses for my life seem so much more attractive.

luke thought the humility of Jesus so important that it was the very first thing he highlighted about Him. God finds the humility of Jesus so important that He gives Him the highest seat for all eternity and gives Him the name above all names. every knee will bow before Him one day and recognize with the words of our own mouths that this humble man who we would be tempted to despise as weak is the strongest man that exists.

and Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. luke 2:52

as much as i may never understand how Jesus would need to grow as the Godman, He grew as a direct result of His humility. His humility gained Him favor with God and with men. as we gaze on the humility of Jesus, may we grow in humility in our own lives. teach us to esteem humility as you esteem humility Father, that we would grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

read more on the journey of humility in a vision for fullness of joy

charis

3 comments:

Bill Scofield said...

I love this post! It doesn't matter where I am, or what I am doing, the subject of Jesus' restraint and humility reduces my heart to a pounding mass of awe and affection for Him. I love this man! Thanks for posting this Babe, it's my favorite so far...made me cry.

Amy Culp said...

Wow, this was just what I needed today...

Shaunwise said...

So good Charis.. so encouraging to me... Im so thankful and blessed to be walking with you guys in this journey of discovering the beauty and awe of Jesus... What a truly amazing God He is... May you continue to behold Him and call those around you to this fascination...

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