Thursday, April 05, 2007

Unfathomable Humility

Gal.5:13-15 - For, brethren, you have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to ,the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another.

There was a human monster who was walking the earth. Oh yes, he had been foretold by the Scriptures and he had an assignment that would label him and his name forever. Masquerading as a committed friend, he was in reality the pupa from which the diabolical butterfly would be birthed. He would be called the “son of perdition” and he would be the conduit of the greatest betrayal the universe would ever see. His name was Judas Iscariot.

Now the Lord Jesus knew him and who he really was, so we can assume that he would cut him off with lightning justice, would we not? Relax, the Lord will deal with Judas forthrightly. But wait, what is this? The Lord Jesus comes into the room on the very night He is to be betrayed. Look, He is kneeling in front of the same one He knows to be the betrayer. What is He doing?
The Lord kneels in front of this monster, picks up a wet towel, and washes the feet of him who will soon run to shed innocent blood…His. Oh my, what am I to make of this?

Just when I think I have a grasp on the love of God and the human expressions of such through the incarnate Jesus I find myself back clinging for dear life on first base. For thirty three years of knowing Christ and reading His Word I have never seen the narrative which brought Him to this upper room in the light in which I have recently seen it. Sure the gathering and sure the teaching and sure the foot washing, but the feet of Judas? The Creator bows before the created betrayer and washes his feet? I said the Creator bows before the created betrayer and washes his feet. There has to be a word that goes beyond humility to describe this scene. There is…the cross.

Yes, the Creator bows before millions of created betrayers and becomes obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. It is impossible to even imagine such humility much less to fully emulate its essence. Now put that scene of humiliated love and paint it on a backdrop canvas in your mind, and in front of this picture paint the disdainful, prideful, seething, and destructive dialogue that Christians today are exhibiting. Christ did not consider His own rights when He was nailed to that cross and yet we shoot from a well fortified fortress of our own making and we call it God’s truth. And Fort Arrogance continues to receive enlistments with no thought to Fort Golgotha.

There are many captured fellow servants who are following paths that lead away from tested truth and yet as they walk away we are content to viciously shoot them in the back rather than fall on our faces before the Lord God Almighty and plead for their awakening. We all are candidates for deception so to malign and castigate others is to deny we stand by God’s grace and pin ourselves with medals for staying faithful. It is disgusting and unchristian at its core. I submit, at this season of the cross memorial, we all need to take a deep breath, reset the clock, and approach each other with brotherhood and love while still holding fast to what we believe. I see a great falling away and you do not, so can we pray together and share what we believe God has laid on our hearts or shall we continue to talk past each other. There may be a need for strong words of correction, and there may be a need for the breaking of fellowship, but must there ever be a need for consistent personal attacks and name calling? And when a brother falls into sin who holds a doctrinal difference from us should we offer a healing hand or should we write about him in “I told you so” rhetoric?

How many of us would have washed Judas’s feet or would we have attacked him thinking we were doing God’s perfect will? I read that account of our Savior’s humility and I am smitten with my own pride. Of course after the Passover dinner there would be the Garden event where our Lord allowed the son of perdition to actually kiss Him. I would have recoiled and backed away, not desiring those lips of betrayal to come near me. And then there was Golgotha. The mind bending picture of the Lord of all Glory hanging on a Roman cross. Humility cubed (Trinity).

So the next time you think more highly of yourself than you should, consider this panoramic view of the death of the Creator. Bloody, shameful, nail pierced, thorn crowned, speared, almost naked, suffering Lamb. And then ask yourself this question, “What is man that thou art mindful of him?”. Followed by,

“What is man that You would die in my place?”


Mike Ratliff said...

Amen Rick!

Who are we to act like the world against those we disagree with? Jesus showed us the way and it sure isn't in self-protection and self-absorption. To be Christlike should be our goal and the process(es) which build it in our hearts hurt very much. However, we are called to be humble with a friendly mind to everyone - no exceptions. Very tough for people who are in bondage to their flesh, but natural for those who are dead to sin and alive to God.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

JoeMartino said...

Ok, two things.

1. Great Post. You are an excellent writer and a good expositor.

2. Mr. Ratliff, how do you see this post relating to Slice 2.0 which you are a contributor of?

Lawrence said...

"I said the Creator bows before the created betrayer and washes his feet. There has to be a word that goes beyond humility to describe this scene. There is… the cross."

Theology of The Cross!


Rebekah said...

Brother Rick,
The last several posts you've written have really made me think. I've started to comment several times, but just never could get the words right. Just know that the Lord is using these thoughts! Thank you so much for sharing what God has laid on your heart with such passion. He is using you to remind us that we must live and write for His glory alone, and our pride and arrogance must be crucified with Christ. We need to write and believe and live the truth and speak that truth in love, remembering that it is only by His grace and through the working of the Holy Spirit in us that we are able to know and recognize that truth. Thank you again, for writing to honor our Savior and for sharing these humbling and convicting thoughts with us!

Scotty said...

THANKS, Reverend, I needed this!

Baptist Girl said...

Dear Rick,
Thank you for your words. As always they speak to me. I always come here to read what you have to share. I always come away blessed by your words. Thank you Rick.