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Thursday, 21 February 2019

Luke 14 : 1-14

“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” -Luke 14:11

We are in the age of “selfies” – where exalting the self, giving more prominence to the self is becoming more prominent!!! Humility or being humble seem to be for the “weak” or the “meek”! Not so for a disciple of Christ Jesus- he/she is called to follow in the footsteps of the Master who preached and practiced humility!

Humility is a virtue that relates to one’s heart attitude. Pride is the contrasting attitude and it too originates from the heart. “The proud and haughty man—Scoffer is his name—deals and acts with overbearing pride.” (Prov.21:24 AMP).  Such the Lord detests (Prov.16:5). He who thinks he knows it all and is unwilling to take advice (Prov.12:15) is certainly full of pride. The Lord says of the humble, “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)

In the Gospels, Jesus makes mention of humility or ‘humbling oneself’ on several instances. He used examples to demonstrate the point as well:

•In the context of being the greatest in the kingdom of God:Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child …” (Matt.18:4). A child has no airs of his own and quickly make friends.

•In the context of the greatest among the people/disciples: “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matt.23:12). Jesus told His disciples that they should first learn to serve before they could lead.

•In the Parable of the Pharisee and Tax collector on the one who was justified: “…for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14). The tax collector was humble enough to admit his shortfalls and submit to God.

Thus Jesus taught His disciples to take on themselves the attitude of humility.

Through the parable He spoke in today’s reading on taking the prominent seats of honour at a wedding feast, Jesus was just driving home the point of the attitude of humility. If one does not think too highly of himself, he would conduct himself in such manner that he would be honoured by the host later.  Proverbs 27:2 says, “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” Humility is the attitude that doesn’t exalt oneself but is willing to say like John the Baptist, “He must increase [Christ] but I must decrease.”(John 3:30)

Jesus showed by example what it meant humble Himself -Philippians 2:5-11. Though He had every right to retain His position- “His seat of honour” in heaven, he willingly left it and came down to earth as a man, humbled himself to the point of death on the cross- the heinous way of killing criminals- though He himself was without sin. He went to the cross, thinking of you and me not Himself or the shame and humiliation associated with dying on the cross. This is true humility- willing to let go of everything for the sake of saving you and me!

Hence we who have accepted Him, acknowledging His death and resurrection to be sufficient to be made right with God, He has given us “seats of honour “ along with Him who is seated at God’s right hand (Eph.1:20).“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)

Brethren, we are called to follow in His steps- in letting go of our self, our pride in our accomplishments, our “seats of honour” so that Christ can be exalted in us.  Are we willing?

Food for Thought :  “ It is a contradiction to be a true Christian and not humble.” -  Richard Baxter

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