Theme of the Week: Learning Humility
Bible Verse: “Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8 CSB
Scripture Reading: Mark 10:32-34
From beginning to end, Jesus’ life on earth was marked by humility. Jesus “emptied himself.” This is not to say he became something less than God in his humanity, “for in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). It is to say that he became human, laying down his glorious form to take up a body of flesh. An incomparable condescension.
Why would the Son of God give up his seat at the right hand of the Father for a place at the table with sinners and tax collectors? He did it for us: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). “Though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Jesus “humbled himself.” The emphasis is on obedience to the will of the Father, which was the death of his Son on a cross. An unbearable thought. But it is in his obedience that we see his humility. The night before his crucifixion, Jesus “began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them [the disciples], ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.’ Remain here and watch. And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me'” (Mark 14:33–36).
The “cup” is Old Testament imagery for the outpouring of God’s righteous wrath. Jesus, in the garden, acknowledges what is to come on the cross, where he will take upon himself God’s judgment against the sin of the world.
The thought of drinking the cup in full was so dreadful that Jesus asked if there was any way to avoid it. He went to God like a little child who believes that Dad is able to get him out of whatever difficulty he’s in. Jesus asked, “Dad, you can do anything … can you take this cup from me?” For Jesus’ whole life, whenever he turned to the Father in prayer, he found comfort and strength. All the light and love of heaven flooded his soul. This time he turns to the Father and “finds hell rather than heaven opened up before him.”
It was sorrow unto death. When you see that the mere taste of the cup was enough to throw the Son into this kind of pain, then you are ready in this season to consider what the full experience on the cross must have been like for him. You can begin to understand the depth of humility that says, “Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).
Taken from Journey to the Cross: Devotions for Lent, by Will Walker and Kendal Haug, ©2017.
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