The Subversive Humility of Jesus


By Christopher K. Lee

It is tough to stand out these days.

We reside in a competitive globe exactly where yesterday’s records are today’s baselines, exactly where the Internet—social media, in particular—puts the American dream on steroids, and exactly where, for a lot of, anonymity is worse than failure. We’re pressured to do additional, be distinct, and make a name for ourselves.

Jesus in his final hours gives us an instance of humility that stands in stark contrast. John 13 recounts element of the story recognized as the Final Supper. Right here are 5 lessons we can draw from this passage.

1. Humble leaders are concerned about other people initial.

Verse 1 sets the scene: Even in the midst of trials, understanding that “the hour had come for him to leave this globe,” Jesus didn’t waver from his commitments. He didn’t shut down and develop into self-focused. He didn’t dominate conversations with his troubles. Rather, he stayed the course and “loved [his disciples] to the finish.”

two. Humble leaders are safe in their identity.

“Jesus knew that the Father had place all factors below his energy. . . so he got up from the meal . . . and started to wash his disciples’ feet” (vv. three-four). Jesus didn’t downplay who he is there was no false humility. He acknowledged that he was their Lord and Teacher. He was confident that “he had come from God and was returning to God.” And simply because of this—not in spite of it—he performed the humble act of washing their feet.

three. Humble leaders go the distance.

Jesus frequently broke social norms, and this passage gives a prime instance. Peter’s reaction shows how unacceptable it was for a rabbi to wash his disciples’ feet (vv. six-eight). But Jesus demonstrated that, in contrast to the Pharisees who craved honor and applause, no job was beneath him in advancing the kingdom of God.

A different way he went the distance was in loving his enemies. Jesus knew of Judas’ treachery, however he washed his betrayer’s feet also (vv. 10-11).

four. Humble leaders do not seek immediate gratification.

Addressing Peter’s objections, Jesus told him: “You do not understand now what I am carrying out, but later you will understand” (v. 7). He wasn’t driven by quick outcomes. He didn’t do fantastic operates to be recognized. In contrast to our validation-looking for, fail-rapidly culture, Jesus invested toward eternity and sought approval from God alone. Even when his followers lacked vision, he embraced the thankless job and led humbly.

five. Humble leaders set an instance for other people.

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also must wash 1 another’s feet,” Jesus instructed the disciples (v. 14). This is a tough command to obey, 1 that maybe would really feel not possible had Jesus not demonstrated it himself. The challenge, of course, is not the physical approach of foot-washing. It is the social implications of the act. It is the emotional wrestling with pride. Jesus’ followers lived in a hierarchical society that dictated the anticipated conduct for each and every class of persons. To break such social norms by humbling oneself, as Jesus did, was degrading and shameful in their eyes. And not only was the person ridiculed, his or her family members was guilty by association.

In case his disciples nonetheless had reservations, Jesus added: “no servant is higher than his master” (v. 16). His humility freed them to be humble as nicely.

As we witness from Jesus’ instance, humility is not weakness or self-degradation. Nor is it tact and image management. Rather, accurate humility is a confident expression of priorities that values our neighbors as ourselves. It contradicts social expectations it goes against human nature. It is uncommon and it is exceptional. If we are to stand out, let us initial be recognized as imitators of Christ—exhibiting humility that goes the distance and inspires other people to do likewise.


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