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March 31, 2018

The Humility of God

by Erin Golangco

...Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,


“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

 

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Matthew 21:1-11 (https://pcpc.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=eba67192d3a27da52e93fefb8&id=40d389dbec&e=82a9a8f891)

 

Who is this? Have you ever tried to describe someone very precious to you, and all the words seem woefully inadequate to capture that person’s character and worth? That is how I’ve felt reflecting on Jesus’ person this week. All words seem to groan under the weight of all that He is and has done.

Who is this? The crowds were anxiously asking this question as Jesus came into Jerusalem. Imagine the sights and sounds, how people pressed and fought to see this man called Jesus enter Jerusalem. It was the week of Passover, and likely stories of Jesus’ power to heal likely preceded Him from nearby Bethany where Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead. Pilgrim Jews were eager to receive this man who worked miracles in their midst. Could this be the one that would save them from Roman oppression?

For the first time in His public ministry, Jesus wants all eyes on Him as He enters His final week on earth. He wants people to see what kind of King He is, and that His way of conquering is not through force or dominance, but through humility and death.

Sinclair Ferguson points out the fact that Jesus draws attention to only one special characteristic about Himself—paradoxically, His humility. He calls His disciples to learn from Him, for He is gentle and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:28). This is embodied in how He rides into Jerusalem. He comes not on a chariot or a war horse (Zechariah 9:10), but as the Prince of Peace, humble and mounted on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). Jesus establishes His eternal rule not by way of the world’s glory, but instead the world’s shame and disgrace all the while exhibiting the most tender compassion and grace for His people. He is precisely the kind of king we need. And what a King He is!

Who is this? I want to borrow from the words of Gregory of Nazianzus, who gives such a poignant picture of Jesus’ person, work and worth:

“…He is sold, and cheap was the price—thirty pieces of silver; yet He buys back the world at mighty cost of His blood. A sheep, He is led to the slaughter —yet He shepherds Israel and now the whole world as well…He is weakened, wounded—yet He cures every disease and every weakness. He is brought up to the tree and nailed to it—yet by the tree of life He restores us. He is given vinegar to drink, gall to eat—and who is He? Why, one who turned water into wine, who took away the taste of bitterness, who is all sweetness and desire…He dies, but He vivifies, and by death destroys death…”

Who is this? I want to be more like the blind beggars who unabashedly called out to Jesus for mercy, pleading in desperation that they may recover their sight (Matthew 20:29-34). Would we all have fresh eyes to behold the power of the cross and the astounding meekness of our Savior, and may His perfect holiness be our humility.

#####


About the Author

Erin Golangco
Director of Small Groups
Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Erin Golangco works at PCPC as the Director of Small Groups. She attended the University of Oklahoma and graduated with a B.A. in Classics/Business. Since 2005, she has held roles in sales, operations, and consulting prior to joining the PCPC team in early 2014. She is married to Paul and a mother to their young daughter.

 

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God's Holy Fire from Heartlight

God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  • Who Can Argue with These Qualities?

    For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.

    Romans 14:17-18 NLT

    Key Thought

    Who can argue with goodness, peace, and joy? These three virtues are not obtained just by human effort. Yes, a passion to possess these godly qualities is necessary, but the source of these qualities is the Holy Spirit alive in us. Goodness, peace, and joy have their source in God's nature and are made real in us through the work of the Holy Spirit. As we invite the Holy Spirit to reign over our inner being, our character is transformed to be more and more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). So let's yearn for the Holy Spirit to transform us to be ever more like Christ and trust that the Spirit's influence will be displayed in our lives through goodness, peace, and joy.

    Today's Prayer

    Father, don't let me be distracted by, or addicted to, food or drink. I want to be sustained and fed spiritually and emotionally by the presence of your Holy Spirit within me. I specifically pray that your goodness, peace, and joy will become more and more apparent in my life as I seek to honor Christ and yield myself to the influence of your Spirit. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

  • Confirmation

    I speak the truth in Christ — I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit...

    Romans 9:1 NIV

    Key Thought

    We often use hyperbole to make an emphatic point about something that is important to us. Hyperbole is an overstatement meant to get other people's attention. The words of hyperbole can even be jarring to help others understand the emotions behind the words spoken. Paul is about to make an incredibly shocking statement about being willing to be cut off from Christ if it would mean that his own people, the Jews, would know Jesus as their Messiah and Lord (Romans 9:1-5). But, Paul has done his own spiritual inventory: What he says is NOT hyperbole or exaggeration. He means it with all of his heart, and the Holy Spirit confirms it. As The Message puts it, "I'm not exaggerating — Christ and the Holy Spirit are my witnesses." Since the Holy Spirit lives within us and works with our consciences to convict us of sin, to help us discern God's truth when it is proclaimed, and to confirm God's truth within us, Paul can speak with assurance that what he says is the truth. We might stretch the truth to each other, but we cannot lie to the Spirit who lives within us.

    Today's Prayer

    Heavenly Father, I want to speak the truth in love. I know that I need the convicting, comforting, and confirming Holy Spirit to be at work in my heart so that my words are true and redemptive. I ask for this grace in Jesus' name. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.