We knew He was coming. He was coming in power and pomp. And we were ready for Him to come in pomp and kick out the avor of the month invading army and set up His kingdom right here on Earth. Take His rightful place on a throne of ivory. We just knew He was coming in majesty; that’s why so many missed Him when He came in humility.
Gaze at Jesus’ life and ministry and you’ll see thirty-three years of humility. It lines both sides of the road from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. Jesus is the only person in the history of humanity to choose His family. He could have chosen an emperor or king; He chose a carpenter. He could have chosen to grow up in holy Jerusalem or bustling Rome, but He chose to grow up around craftsmen and tradesmen in good ol’ blue-collar Nazareth. Jesus could have recruited disciples like a college coach recruits players—in Florida one day, in Texas the next. Looking for the strongest, fastest, best, brightest. Yet He intentionally chose a dream team of twelve ordinary men to change the world.
His ministry was marked by majesty, but He didn’t seek out the king’s courts. He healed a centurion’s servant in one verse, then raised a widow’s son in the next. He touched lepers, held children, saved the adulteress, forgave the cripple. And that’s just a short highlight reel of ministering to people who never made it on another highlight reel. He ate with sinners and told stories of shepherds and seed sowers to shepherds and seed sowers.
He could have set up His kingdom on Earth and caused everyone, poor and rich, bow. Instead, He bowed in front of twelve disciples’ dusty feet and washed them with His own hands. Hands that would soon be fastened to a cross. A cross that was fashioned from a tree He grew. Think about the distance from the throne room in Heaven to the dungeon in Jerusalem where He would spend the longest night of His short life before being bound to a whipping post and fastened to a cross.
Yet Paul wrote it so well when He wrote Philippians 2, “But He made Himself of no reputation and took upon Himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Jesus shows us a beautiful facet of this diamond. Within holiness, there is humility. If anyone had a right to demand His own way and be served from His rst breath to His last, it was Jesus. He was and is the almighty God. He created the men who cruci ed Him. Yet He did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. Almighty God humbled Himself. The Romans who crucified Him did not humble Him; the Jews who hated Him did not humble Him; the Gentiles who misunderstood Him did not humble Him. He humbled Himself. He laid down His own life and exchanged His life for our soul. At the heart of the gospel is this beautiful portrait of humility.
So before Paul tells us in Philippians 2 what Jesus did, He tells us what we should do. Be like Him. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. The New Living Translation reads, “You must have the same attitude Christ Jesus had.” Humility.
For us to be holy, we must be clothed in humility. There is no room in the gospel or in God’s church for pride; there’s no room for self-righteousness; there’s no room for haughtiness; there’s no room for thinking we are God’s gift to God’s creation. At the foot of the cross and at the feet of Jesus, there’s only room to bow. There’s only room for humility. Humility is at the heart of the gospel. Humility is at the heart of Philippians 2. Humility is at the heart of holiness. Humility is at the heart of Jesus.