Lesson 3, Digging Deeper 1
In Progress

Stay Humble by Matt Heupel

As the disciples continue to fight within themselves as to who is the greatest in Mark 9.33-37, Jesus takes a moment to teach them an important lesson on humility. As the Creator of the universe kneels and washes the disciples’ feet, He isn’t just teaching them about humility, He is illustrating it. Instead of seeking to gain a “title” as to who is the greatest, Jesus is showing them that greatness only comes when we pick up the “towel”. What a powerful illustration of having the same hands that formed man from the dust of the ground wash the residue of that same dust off. The guilt that they must have felt, the embarrassment they endured must have made them feel like children being scolded by a parent. I would suggest that this imagery they witnessed on that day would remain with them throughout eternity. Seeing the One who is the Greatest, humbly performing an act of service, helped these men in their ministry to STAY HUMBLE.

Today, many of us are not that different from the disciples. We are driven by having a “title”. In the disciples’ case it was who is the greatest, but today those “titles” come in many different flavors. Your title may be more of a category like the coolest, the athletes, the good looking, the popular, the gamer. Inherently there is nothing wrong with wanting to be any of these things, if we understand that these things should be secondary. Therein lies the problem. We get so caught up with life, we forget that as Christians we should be driven to be Christ-like first. That is why this lesson is so vital to us. If we instill in our lives a practice of picking up the towel of service, we should be more prone to STAY HUMBLE and not allow these “titles” to control our lives. Within this example, Jesus reveals to us three more things that STAYING HUMBLE will offer us.

It will give us SECURITY

Titles make us feel important, needed and accepted. We want these things because they make us feel safe and secure, yet Jesus might argue they offer a false sense of security. Real security can only be found in God. The text reveals that Jesus knew “… that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God…”(John 13:3) Jesus knew that His security was found in the Father. His security wasn’t in Him being accepted by others, because He wasn’t. He didn’t find any security by fitting in with the crowd, because He stood out like a sore thumb. Ironically, Jesus has the greatest titles of all: Creator, Master, Savior, Messiah. However, His security was found in being submissive to the Father’s will. Paul tells us in Philippians that Jesus, “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8). Like Jesus, we find security in STAYING HUMBLE.

It helps us SURRENDER

As a kid I recall hearing a story of a congregation singing as their closing song “Oh the Bitter Pain and Sorrow” as their closing song. The song is a very beautiful song that contains four verses that describe how our spirit fights against surrendering to Jesus. The first verse closes “…all of self and none of Thee. Followed by verse two “…some of self and some Thee”. Then third verse “… less of self and more of Thee”. Finally, in a crescendo with the final line of the last verse “…none of self and all of Thee”. However, on this occasion the congregation, as is typically in the church, they ended the service with only singing the first verse; ending the song with “When I proudly say to Jesus, all of self and none of Thee”. Sadly, that line really does describe a lot of us. It is a struggle for us to learn how to surrender. As Jesus finishes washing their feet and resumes His place among them, He says “Do you understand what I have done to you? 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. “(John 13:12-15). Because Jesus knew His security was in God, He could surrender His title of Teacher and Lord. It wasn’t that He was forfeiting these titles, because we know that He continues still today as Teacher and Lord. Rather, Jesus was showing us an example of what it means to lose yourself in God. That is what surrendering to God is all about.

It challenges us to SERVE

Jesus finishes His object lesson with a challenge, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:17). His example sets forth for us a challenge on what it means to be blessed. As we seek to serve, we maintain a lifestyle of humility enabling us to STAY HUMBLE. Jesus said it best “it truly is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20.35)