6. Humility Is Required

By Vincent C. Finnegan

After spending 40 days in the wilderness Jesus Christ was tempted of the Devil. After this he went into Galilee and eventually came to Nazareth where he had been brought up. As his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and read to the congregation that which is recorded in Isaiah. That which he read tells us exactly what he was anointed to do:

Luke 4:17 and 18: 
And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

The word “poor” in Isaiah is “meek.” Jesus Christ was anointed to preach the gospel to the meek.

“Humility” and “meekness” are close in meaning yet not identical, and are often used together in the scriptures. “Humility” is the emptying of self; and “meekness” is willingness to listen to God. After we have put aside our own egotistical thoughts we can be meek to hear God’s will. Humility is a prerequisite to meekness.

As we carefully study the ministry of Jesus Christ we see he disciplined himself to preach to those who were humble and meek.

To whom was Jesus Christ sent? Most would say he was sent to Israel. He said the following:

Matthew 15:24: 
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Living in the Western world, in a culture far removed from that of the time of the writing of God’s Word, can limit our understanding. For the most part we are ignorant of the often-used analogy of the shepherd and his sheep. Sheep are extremely dependent on the shepherd. This was especially true in Palestine where water and grazing land were hard to find. Without the shepherd the sheep would die. Sheep are very similar in humility to what we saw in babies. Jesus Christ was sent exclusively to Israel, but specifically to those in Israel who were the lost sheep, the humble.

What was the first recorded truth Jesus Christ taught?

Matthew 5:3: 
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Poor in spirit” is an idiom which means humble.

Even at the last supper Jesus emphasized humility by washing the disciples’ feet. This gave them an example of loving service.  

One of the first truths dynamically communicated to the Christian church in the book of Romans is humility. Chapters 1-3 show the utter helpless and hopeless state of man. The only solution is God’s loving grace.

Romans 3:24: 
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Romans 12 begins the practical side of this doctrinal epistle and encourages us to renew our minds.

Romans 12:3: 
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

“Not to think more highly” of ourselves, but to think “according as God has dealt” is humility. For a Christian the greatest humility that seems to be required is believing we are what God says we are. He created in us a new creation. We are redeemed, righteous, justified, and sanctified. God has made us His sons now and throughout eternity. We have Christ in us, the hope of glory. We have been given the power and authority to walk as Christ did. Humility dictates we accept these truths and live accordingly.

We see humility communicated also in the great doctrine of Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:1 and 2: 
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuf fering, forbearing one another in love;

“Lowliness” is humility. Humility is truly the beginning of all our dealings with God. Not only is it the beginning, it is what we want to maintain every day throughout our lives. We are not sufficient of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.

God requires humility!