The message last Sunday focused on the humility of Jesus as demonstrated near the end of his life when he washed the feet of His disciples. The Lord’s humility, as we examined it, is the key to our salvation. As one of the apostle’s wrote:
“Jesus, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
After washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus explained his action by saying, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
It is ironic but true; there is power in humility. Pride, the opposite of humility, robs us of power and limits our influence. I also recalled a story about Norman Vincent Peale (minister and author) when he was feeling uncharacteristically nervous before a major speaking opportunity. His wife knelt to pray with him saying, “Dear God forgive my husband for being full of himself. Forgive him for thinking more about how good he will perform rather than the good you will perform through him! Forgive him his arrogance Lord. Purge him of selfish thoughts and equip him to be your spokesman to help others! Amen.”
Wives have a way of keeping husbands humble. Carol is by nature an encourager, but not especially impressed by my Bible knowledge, leadership ability or intelligence. She tells it like it is, believing the Psalmist was right when he wrote, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” In other words… your true friends will speak the truth to you when everyone else praises you in public but gossips behind your back.
This past weekend was a perfect example. For the first time in a while, I had a Saturday off; no wedding to conduct and a seminary student was preaching at the 5pm Traditions service. With no Saturday commitment I asked Carol if she wanted to go to the Fox on Friday night. I love the Fox. The architecture is stunning. Every year we try to find a couple of reasons to attend an event there just so we can enjoy the surroundings. Carol agreed, so I checked online and bought the best seats for what seemed a reasonable cost. I went to a site that actually let you chose your seat that has a camera picture of what the stage looked like from the various locations. Awesome! We’d be in front row in the second section of the balcony. Woot woot!
We got there in good time – which means “way too early for some.” (Just another indication to Carol that I’m getting old before my time.) It turned out arriving early was too our advantage. When the ticket-checker passed my online tickets under her bar-scanner an alarm sounded, indicating we were there on the wrong night. The great tickets I bought were for the following Friday –a minor error on my part. Carol was not surprised by the stupidity of my mistake.
I made no attempt to justify my error or even beg for mercy. I humbly accepted the blame and turned to leave, but the gracious ticket-taker said, “Let me see if I can help.” Before I knew it she took me to the box-office counter and signaled for the manager to take a look at our tickets. He disappeared behind the door and returned with reissued tickets for the correct night saying, “I was actually able to locate some better tickets for you.” Woot woot! I turned to my much-embarrassed wife and said… “See this is how God works. If you are humble and admit your mistakes, God turns your stupidity into blessing.” (She wasn’t buying it.)
Jesus finished the foot washing experience with an important statement saying, “If you know these things you will be blessed if you do them.” When I humbly acknowledge that my good standing before God has nothing to do with my achievement, my faithfulness or my good behavior, it gives me confidence in life. I look at the cross and immediately see the depth of God’s love. I look at the vastness of the world God made and am immediately reminded of His unlimited power. Who should I fear? What situation do I face that is beyond His reach? No one and nothing.
Some believe that humility is an open invitation to be abused. Godly humility is just the opposite, an invitation for God’s power to be unleashed in your life. It might even score you better seats at the Fox!
“You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:13-17
- Would you rather be the host or a guest at an event? Explain your answer.
- Why is it difficult for some to have other people wait on them?
- What was the point Jesus was trying to make? How does it reflect on His ultimate mission?
How have you learned to become more humble?
A. Through the model of others
B. Trial and error
C. Through service
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If you were unable to attend services last week or would like to hear a message based on Matthew’s account of Jesus birth, visit our website at www.stjstl.net and click on a teaching link. A Bible study is also available for you to download.
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Father, give us the humility which realizes its ignorance, admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice and accepts rebuke. Help us to always praise rather than to criticize, sympathize rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy and to think of people at their best rather than at their worst. Amen.
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Click on the links below to learn more about what's going on at St. John!
- Invest in others and yourself. Attend the Chick-fil-A Leadercast on May 10. Find out all the information here.
- Friday Frenzie Move-up on May 17 for Current 3rd-4th Graders and Their Friends!
- Volunteer Opportunities Available for Students finishing 5th grade through adults at Kingdom Rock Vacation Bible School.
- Do your children attend Children’s Ministry on Sundays at 9:15am or 11:00am? If so, we’re having a Sneak Peek on their classroom, leaders and programming for next year on Sunday, May 12. You’ll still drop off and pick up your child in this year’s classroom. We invite you to attend this day, too, so you’ll know more about your child’s Sunday morning experience.
Stephen Hower, Pastor
Challenging the status quo to awaken an appreciation for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Phil. 3:13,14
(and to lower my golf score)
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