The Beauty of Jesus’ Humility
by Billy Humphrey
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
In Jesus’ first public sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, He emphasized meekness as one of the core values of the kingdom of God. At the very onset of His message, He made a shocking statement—it’s not the strong, rich, or accomplished who will reign with Him in His kingdom, it’s the meek, lowly, and humble.
This statement didn’t only fly in the face of the leaders of His day; it stands in direct contradiction to leaders in virtually every culture the earth has ever seen. People love strong leaders who exude confidence and power. They especially love when someone looks the part as much as he plays the part. Jesus’ statement, however, is the antithesis of what people look for in leadership. This is the truth of His kingdom—not many noble, not many mighty, and not many powerful people are the leaders in His kingdom; it’s the meek and lowly that He chooses (1 Corinthians 1:26–27).
If you’re like me, you love the idea of meekness and you probably even value those who act humbly. At the same time you probably realize that you fall woefully short of Jesus’ example. If you’re like me, when you get past the surface of these truths and look deeper into your own heart, you realize you don’t’ really resemble the meekness that Jesus taught and lived.
What’s worse is you have probably realized you can’t just do meekness. Humility and the fallen human heart are completely incompatible. Here we are, you and I, stuck with hearts that are deeply stained by pride, and Jesus requires humility from those in the kingdom. We know we can’t fake it. How do we change?
Here is the bottom line; you and I can’t truly be humble without God transforming us. Sure we can act humble for a moment, an hour, or a day, but to live our lives loving humility, loving being least, last, and lowest takes a complete change of heart only available through the power of the Holy Spirit. Transformation of this kind doesn’t happen because we try harder, it only comes as a product of God’s powerful grace released to our soul.
Jesus taught us to come to Him to learn meekness (Matthew 11:28–29). It’s the only time He directly tells us to learn a topic from coming to Him. Paul tells us that as we contemplate Jesus we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). Here’s the point: if we want to grow in meekness, we have to come to Jesus, admit our pride, and ask Him to transform us. As we ask for change, we must consider and reconsider Jesus, the One who is meek and lowly, and He will impart grace to our hearts to transform us.
Think of it. Jesus is co-equal with the Father. He is from everlasting. Uncreated. All powerful. He who is most highly exalted put aside His divine privilege in becoming a man and submitted himself to human weakness, humiliation, and death. Though He is so great, all that He was and is as a man expresses perfectly His core identity. He didn’t become a man as a “humility assignment”, He is humility. He didn’t have to try to be humble, He simply expressed His core nature.
As we continually consider who He is in humility, it will have a powerful transformative effect upon our hearts. I encourage you to repeatedly consider Jesus’ astounding humility—ask Him to teach you of Himself in this way and the power of God will transform you.
- Director, International House of Prayer Atlanta
Billy Humphrey is the director of the International House of Prayer Atlanta. In February 2006, a worship-led prayer meeting began at IHOP-Atlanta which continues to this day. Billy and his wife, Maribeth, are committed to preparing a generation for global revival, end-time judgments, and the return of the Lord Jesus. They have four children, Evan, Siah, Coby, and Riah.