A message for the week starting on Sunday 10 April 2022
Lectionary Week: Palm Sunday
Prescribed Texts: Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 31:9-16, Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 22:14 -23:56, Luke 23:1-49
Is There Humility in Me?
Focus Text: Philippians 2:1-13
Lack of humility – or simply, pride – is a moral disease that affects human beings across the world and across all ages. Isaiah describes the first sign of its emergence in heaven, where it was the driving force that moved the Devil to desire God’s throne and fight for it. As a result, the Devil lost the spiritual battle and previous heavenly status (Isaiah 14:12-14).
From heaven, the disease progressed to earth and again it was influential in the decision that led the first human couple to fall spiritually. Let us remember that the Devil suggested that, once Eve ate the prohibited fruit, she would not die as God warned them, but she would become like God (Genesis 3:4). So, pride is implicit behind the fall in the Garden of Eden.
Jesus’ disciples didn’t escape this disease either! In the book of Mark 9:33-34, we are told how they argued amongst themselves about who was the greatest. The wife of Zebedee followed the same route as she requested that Jesus share His throne with her sons, by putting one on His right side and the other on the left side. In other words, she was asking that her sons be granted the opportunity of holding higher positions in Jesus’ Kingdom than their fellow disciples (Matthew 20:20-21).
I believe we are all reminded of the Pharisee and tax collector’s parable described in Luke 18:9-14. The first prided himself on his alleged high moral standards, whilst the latter chose to humiliate himself before God. I want to emphasize the Pharisee’s attitude, because it is the one that better represents us, due to our human nature. We are always tempted to see ourselves as the chosen people, the best Christians, the only bearers of the truth, the finest examples of morality, etc. We so easily despise others, as we automatically assume they fall in an inferior category.
This is not how followers of Christ should live. Jesus invites us to join Him and learn from Him, who is gentle and humble in spirit (Matthew 11:28-29). Furthermore, in our reading from Philippians, the apostle Paul elaborates and gives us substantive details on how Christ embodied humility as He carried out His redemptive work on Earth. Although Christ is God, He embodied human nature, humbled Himself and “walked the path of obedience all the way to death”. By doing this, Jesus Christ set the paradigm of humility as an identifying factor for anyone who claims to be His follower.
Unfortunately, contrary to Jesus Christ’s example, we often fail the test of humility. I have noted among the clergy which I am part of and even among Christians at large, that pride is what we hold most strongly, rather than humility.
To think about: Do you consider yourself to be a humble person? To what extent have you have been failing the test of humility on a daily basis?
Written By: Rev. Eduardo Vundo Sassa, CABSA Voluntary Representative in Angola and trained Churches Channels of Hope (CCoH) facilitator