By Jonathan Baker
Jesus, during his ministry, taught us many things about humbling ourselves. When the disciples asked Jesus, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” … [Jesus replied], “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1-4). While Jesus and his disciples were at supper, Jesus “got up, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded” (John 13:4-5). Afterwards, Jesus asked, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:12-14). By washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus taught the disciples to humble themselves. “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, Truly, I say unto you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:15-16).
Jesus humbled Himself on numerous occasions so that others would believe He is Savior. In John 4, while Jesus was traveling through Samaria, He came to a well where there was a Samaritan woman drawing water. During this time period, the “Jews [had] no dealings with Samaritans.” Jesus, however, did not view her as lower than Himself, so He went to her, and said, “Give Me a drink”(John 4:7, 9). Astonished, the woman replied, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman” (John 4:9)? Jesus talked with her a little longer until in verse 19 she said, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.” Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman eventually led to an opportunity to speak to other Samaritans who came to believe, “that this One is indeed the Savior of the world”(John 4:40-42). Many believed that Jesus is the Christ as a result of Him being humble enough to resist Jewish prejudice against Samaritans.
Sometimes pride will prevent people from speaking to another that the world looks down on. This will even prevent us from speaking to others about salvation, but as in the case of the Samaritan woman in John 4, Jesus never allowed pride, nor prejudice to prevent Him from speaking to someone about the kingdom of heaven. On another such occasion Jesus refused to succumb to Jewish prejudice against tax collectors. “And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through the way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house’” (Luke 19:2-5). “When [the people of Jericho] saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner” (Luke 19:7). Despite the criticism of the people, Jesus still went with Zacchaeus and said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9). Jesus humbled himself so that others would come to believe and also have the hope of salvation.
Jesus’ greatest example of humility is His death on the cross for us. On the night before his death, Jesus went off, “And being in agony, He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44). Jesus knew what he had to do and dreaded its coming, but despite all the dread, he prayed to God, “yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus humbled himself greatly before God for our salvation.
Remember Jesus’ examples of humility, and humble yourself. Jesus said, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). ”If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them” (John 13:17).