“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.”
In Jesus’ mind looking at the way He humbled Himself for us in becoming man should motivate us to humble ourselves for the good of others.
Over the next several posts what I would like to do is stop and reflect on what exactly Jesus is telling us about the way He humbled Himself that is so remarkable and life-transforming.
First, to understand exactly why Jesus’ humbling of himself is so remarkable we need to see it as a conscious, deliberate choice.
We are often humbled. Unforeseen circumstances often come into our lives which demonstrate just how needy we really are. In that sense, Jesus was different. He was not humbled, He humbled Himself.
Note the emphasis in verse 45.
He did not come to…but came to…
This is not Jesus looking back on his ministry and saying this is the way it turned out. This is Jesus telling His disciples that at the very beginning He chose to enter into this ministry specifically to humble himself for the good of others. This was in fact the reason He came.
It is so funny. We look at our lives and we have so little control over what happens. What little control we do have we usually use to make our lives easier. Jesus on the other hand had absolute control over his life and he used that control to structure his life so he could humble himself as much as possible to serve us.
We can take this thought even a step further knowing what we know about Jesus. Jesus says before Abraham was, I am. We know that Jesus existed as the Son of God before He became man.
None of us can look at the circumstances of our birth and say this is the reason I chose to come into the world. We just came into the world. Jesus however again is different. He existed before He became man which means His coming into the world was a deliberate decision. He can look not only at His ministry but also at His birth and say this is the reason I came into the world.
Jesus chose to come from heaven to earth, to take on the nature of a man, for the specific purpose of humbling himself. Not because of any need He had in himself, but because of what we desperately needed ourselves.
He made a conscious, deliberate choice to humble himself for us.
He looked down on this world and He saw a group of people who in and of themselves did not care about Him. In spite of what people might tell you about themselves, the Bible tells us that each one of us naturally is an enemy of God. Enemies not because of something God did. God has always been good and He has always treated us fairly. We were His enemies because of the malice that existed in our own hearts towards Him.
Jesus humbling of himself is remarkable in that He did not make a conscious, deliberate choice to do so because he saw a sweet, innocent, helpless group of people who deserved this kind of treatment but instead because he made this conscious, deliberate choice when he saw a group of people who deserved the opposite.
We must not think of Jesus as naive. We are going to Africa in order to serve orphans. It is easy for us to have something of a naive perspective when it comes to serving orphans because we have not spent our lives doing that yet. Jesus chose to come to earth and He chose to enter into this ministry knowing exactly and fully what was in the heart of men.
I have a feeling that one of the reasons many people continue to choose to serve others is because of illusions they have about what is in the hearts of men. When we serve others we often think they are thinking one thing when they are not. We think about how they might appreciate what we are doing. We tell ourselves that they understand the sacrifices we have made. When in all reality if we could look into their hearts we would see that they do not appreciate what we are doing nearly as much as we think. If we could see the ingratitude, the selfishness in people’s hearts before we stepped out and served them it probably would stop many of us from stepping out at all.
But it didn’t stop Jesus.