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 (Manna 72: Love—the Bond of Perfection)
Jesus Christ and Humility
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Jesus Christ and Humility

Adapted from a sermon by Aun-Quek Chin—Singapore

[W]ho being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Heb 1:3)

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ is no ordinary man. He is in fact God who came in the flesh to purge us of our sins. Through His death on the cross, those who believe in Him can be saved. During Jesus’ life on earth, He set an example of humility for His disciples to follow. Since He humbled Himself, God raised Him from the dead, and He now sits on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

If a Christian learns the humility of Christ, God will exalt him, and he will have a throne with Christ in heaven. Hence, Jesus told His disciples, “learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt 11:29).

Jesus Christ Displayed Humility by Emptying Himself

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. (Phil 2:5-7)

Since Jesus Christ had come in the likeness of men, He kept His duty as a man and did not exalt Himself to be God. This was the humility of Jesus before God, and this is the humility that all Christians must have.

The One True God is the only self-existing One, and all things come from Him (Col 1:16). We should not commit the mistake of Adam and Eve who failed to humble themselves as Christ did. Being tempted, they tried to be equal with God (Gen 3:4–6). As a consequence, they lost their blessings and honor as children of God.

In fact, they were the first couple created by God. They should have been more assured than anyone else that God is the Creator and they should have kept to their proper domain as created beings. Lifting themselves up to be equal with God was pure arrogance, because the Creator and the creature are not on equal footing.

Similarly, the angels who became proud sinned against God (Jude 6). Like man, angels are created beings. Yet they wanted to exalt themselves to be like God and opposed the will of God (Isa 14:12–15). Their end is the lake of fire and brimstone, where they will face eternal torment (Rev 20:10).

Therefore, we ought to understand what our proper domain is and remain within it, submitting to God’s will. This requires that we empty ourselves, forsaking our own will if it conflicts with God’s will. Sometimes, it may seem quite difficult to forsake our personal rights, interests, desires, and pride. But since Jesus did it out of His great love for us, His love should compel us to do the same.


And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Phil 2:8)

Although Jesus Christ asked the heavenly Father to take away the bitter cup, He humbled Himself before God and willingly submitted to do God’s will (Lk 22:42), even to death on the cross. This was an important display of Jesus’ humility before God.

God created the heavens and the earth; all inhabitants of the world ought to stand in awe of Him (Ps 33:6–8). God spoke and it was done. He commanded and it stood fast. Nothing that exists came into being by itself, by the natural law, or because of cause and effect. Instead, all things came into being by the word of God and are upheld by the power of His word (Heb 1:3).

Since we are created by God, it is only reasonable that we obey and submit to the Creator, because the created being depends on the Creator to live. We ought not think too highly of ourselves and refuse to submit to the will of God. This would lead to our destruction. Take the analogy of a fish. God created fish and placed them to live in the sea. But if one fish decides to go against God’s commandment and insists on staying on land, it will not survive. When it dies, we cannot blame God. Likewise, if we do not listen to the word of God, like the fish insisting on living on land, our end is death. By disobeying God, we have sought our own death. This simple analogy tells us that we have to live according to the will of God. Jesus tells us that, “[m]an does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4). His words are command, and they are life (cf. Jn 6:63, 12:49–50).

Jesus’ humility and submission to God’s will led Him to even lay down His life on the cross for us so that we could receive the grace of salvation. Initially, this grace was meant for the Jews. But because they resisted God’s word, and rejected Jesus, we have received this grace and have been grafted onto the true vine. Let us humble ourselves and submit to do God’s word in our daily life.


[W]ho, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. (Phil 2:6–7)

When Christ humbled Himself to take on the form of a man, He chose the lowliest of all possible, that of being a bondservant. As such, the humility of Christ would truly put to shame the humility that any of us can have. We dare not boast that we are humble because our humility cannot be compared with Christ’s. The humility of Christ also silences the pride in our heart. There are many who have lost themselves in pursuit for power and status, and there are others who try to defend and keep a certain appearance before men. However, Christ took on the form of a bondservant.

Thus, all Christians ought to learn from the humility of Christ. Even though we are not bondservants, yet before God, we willing take on the form of a bondservant. This means that we have to learn to become a slave to God, to have the spirit of a bondservant of God. What sort of spirit or attitude is this?

Do Everything for God’s Glory

A bondservant does everything to glorify the master and not to bring glory to himself, for such was Christ.

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (Jn 17:4–5)

Jesus tells us that everything He did in the world was to glorify the heavenly Father. As Jesus’ disciples, we have to consider whether our actions glorify God or ourselves. The prophet Isaiah teaches us that the will of God is for us to bring glory to Him:

Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him. (Isa 43:7)

We may ask, “Why would God want man to glorify Him?” In fact, God wants His chosen people to enjoy and experience the glory that He Himself has. Since we are called by God’s name, we are His children and part of His body. So when God is glorified, we share in His glory. Out of His unconditional love, He lifted up lowly men like us to share in His eternal glory.

Do Not Expect Any Reward

Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, “We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.” (Lk 17:9–10)

As faithful servants, we do everything according to the master’s command. Should the master thank the servant? Jesus said, “When you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do. '” We dare not ask for any reward or wait for the master to thank us, because we are merely servants and our work is our duty.

In the past, we were sinners. But Jesus Christ, the majestic and honorable God in heaven, took the form of a bondservant in order to save us from eternal condemnation. Jesus was a man without sin and yet He served without seeking for reward. Shouldn’t we who were once sinners serve even more diligently without expecting any reward?

If we realize just how unworthy we are of such grace, we will not only be filled with gratitude, we will serve Him willingly and faithfully all the days of our lives. We will cherish our status as servant of the Lord and view this as something glorious.

Submit Yourself to the Master

A bondservant will submit himself completely to the master. This is what Christ has done.

[W]ho, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear. (Heb 5:7)

When Christ prayed to God to deliver Him, He also said, “Father, not according to My will, but according to Your will.” He was willing to submit to God’s will and give up His own will because He knew that He was God’s servant and that God’s will is the best. As a result, Jesus’ prayer was heard. Jesus has taught us how to offer godly prayer, which requires that we forgo our own will and subject ourselves fully to God. Yet in many instances, unknowingly, we doubt God’s will, and we pray to God to fulfill our will instead.

Even Jesus had to suffer to learn obedience. All the more, we, who are His disciples, need to learn from His humility to obey God as a bondservant obeys his master. Such submission can complete us so that eventually we will be raised to sit together with God.

Serve Others

Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called 'benefactors.' "But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.

(Lk 22:24–26)

When Jesus told His disciples of His impending arrest and death, one would have expected them to be sad. Instead, this solemn news sparked off a dispute among them on who would be considered the greatest after their leader’s departure!

Jesus was still with them, and they were already fighting for the greatest position. How disappointed Jesus must have felt! The disciples’ dispute demonstrated that they did not understand Jesus’ statement, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” and, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called 'benefactors.' But not so among you” (Lk 22:25–26).

Let us not follow the ways of the world to seek for positions of power to lord over others. In the house of God, the opposite is true. The greatest should be the servant of all. Our Lord has set this example for us. We have to learn from the humility of Christ to take the form of a bondservant and be willing to serve others.

Wash Each Other’s Feet

A bondservant washes the feet of others. On the night of the last supper, Jesus laid aside His outer garment, girded Himself with a towel, and did something that alarmed His disciples. He knelt down to wash their feet, a task that was normally performed by servants.

This was why Peter said to Jesus, “You shall never wash my feet,” for Jesus was his master. Yet Christ took the form of a bondservant and willingly washed the disciples’ feet, even the feet of the one who would betray Him. This is what moves us, and this is the humility of Christ that we need to emulate.

Today, we may be willing to wash the feet of those whom we owe a great debt, but there are feet of others that we are not willing to wash. When Jesus Christ washed the disciples’ feet, He even washed the feet of Judas Iscariot. In the church, is there anyone’s feet that we would refuse to wash? Who has betrayed us in the same way as Judas betrayed Jesus? No one has gone to that extent; they may have only angered us. Thus, we have to learn from the humility of Christ to take on the form of a bondservant, to forgive, and to love even those who have offended us.

We must always remember that it is the devil who teaches man to harbor hatred and to refuse to forgive. On the other hand, the Lord tells us to forgive others just as He has forgiven us. This reason alone should be strong enough to motivate us.


Jesus Christ, the Son of God, left His heavenly glory to come into this world in the likeness of man. Out of all human conditions, He chose the lowliest—that of a humble bondservant. Moreover, He manifested His humility by emptying Himself and submitting to do God’s word.

Today, let us learn from Jesus’ humility by allowing His great love to continuously inspire us to empty ourselves and submit to His words, acknowledging God’s will as superior to our own will. This requires us to forsake our personal interests when we serve God. It also demands that we look out for the needs of others, prioritizing them over ours.

Finally, let us learn from Jesus’ spirit as a bondservant whose thoughts, words, and deeds always glorified God, and who served with true gratitude. He served without expecting any reward, and He obeyed God in all things. If we follow Jesus’ footprints of humility, we will eventually fulfill God’s purpose in our life and learn to love others just as Christ has loved us.

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Author: Aun-Quek Chin