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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.
  • How Foolish Can You Be?

    How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?

    Galatians 3:3 NLT

    Key Thought

    Try harder! Be better! Achieve more! Seek perfection! These are all messages that we hear every day in our competitive world. In fact, these admonitions can help in many areas of our lives. However, there is one area that they do not help: becoming holy like God! Yes, we need to obey God. Yes, we must offer ourselves to God for his service. Yes, we should yearn to be holy as God is holy. However, without the work of the Holy Spirit, we will never become like Jesus. The Spirit convicts us, purifies us, gives spiritual gifts to us, empowers us, and transforms us to become like Jesus. Our effort alone cannot bring about these changes in us; we must depend on the Spirit's work to accomplish all these changes. While this dependence on the Spirit may feel counter-intuitive to our pursuit of Christ-likeness, this trust in the Spirit is an indispensable element of God's grace. The Father delivered us from sin and death through the gift of his Son. We become like Jesus as we offer ourselves to God through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our own efforts, our own power, and our own attempts at perfection will always fall short of God's holiness and majesty. Only the "Holy Gift" within us can transform us into the very nature of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18).

    Today's Prayer

    O Father, I do want to be holy as you are holy. I do want to live with your righteous character and your gracious compassion. So I offer myself — my life, my gifts, my time, my money, my all — to serve you. But I know, dear Father, that these things will fall far short of your perfection and glory, and so I ask for your Holy Spirit to do his work in me. 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.

  • How Did You Receive the Spirit?

    I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?

    Galatians 3:2 NIV

    Key Thought

    Most of us love lists. We can check things off our lists and show we've completed our tasks. If we don't complete our list, we feel like we deserve any negative consequences. The Holy Spirit, however, is not something we deserve. The Spirit is a gift Jesus gives to those who believe in him — those who trust in and share with Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection through baptism (1 Corinthians 15:1-5; Romans 6:3-6). Paul was reminding these Galatian Christians that no list, not even one given in the law, can bring the Holy Spirit to them. They received the Spirit because they fully believed in Jesus who poured out this gift upon them (Titus 3:3-7). No wonder Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit as one of God's greatest gifts (Luke 11:11-13).

    Today's Prayer

    O Father, thank you for the gift of your Son who died for my sins and was raised from the dead to give me the victory over sin and death. I also thank you, dear Father, for the gift of the Holy Spirit who is your presence that lives in me. May my life be to your glory, O God. In the name of Jesus, I offer you my deepest thanks! 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.

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