I regularly receive Torah study articles in my E-mail from a Messianic Jewish organization called Bibles for Israel. I was intrigued with a particular article their ministry staff recently sent to me on the subject, “Humility Without Humiliation.”
One of the reasons it caught my curiosity is because humility was to be the same subject I had prepared to address in my worship message the very next Sunday. My presentation included the account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet demonstrating that he came as a humble servant. It was also the Sunday our church commemorated the Lord’s Supper that Jesus instituted at the Feast of Passover. The article dovetailed perfectly with the material I had prepared for that Sunday. Talk about the Lord’s timing!
Anyway, I am forwarding an excerpt of the Torah study article for your information and inspiration. Keep in mind that since this is from a Jewish perspective, you will find words like Yeshua in reference to Jesus, and Mashiach meaning Messiah or Christ. By the way, I found the renderings of Hebrew words most helpful in regard to clarification and application of the important points which were made:
Eved Mashiach (Servant Messiah)
No one really likes to feel like a slave forced into drudgery or servitude, like some kind of Cinderella, scrubbing the dirty floors of her wicked stepmother and stepsisters.
Perhaps we all feel like this at times, and yet, Yeshua made the remarkable claim that whoever desires to be great should be a servant, and whoever desires to be first, should be a slave. (Matthew 20:26–27)
“For the son of Man did not come to be served but to serve [l’avdah] and give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
Yeshua the Messiah modeled this spirit of service.
Before the Feast of Passover, Yeshua wrapped a towel around him, washed his disciples’ dirty feet, and said to them:
“I have set for you an example that you should do, as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant [eved] is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” (John 13:15–16)
That Yeshua came as a servant is prophecy fulfilled:
“He who formed me in the womb to be His Servant [Eved] to bring Jacob back to Him, and gather Israel to Himself. … It is too small a thing for you to be my Servant [Eved] to restore up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back those of Israel I have kept.” (Isaiah 49:5–6)
How did Yeshua, who had the exalted position of Son of God and El Gibor (Mighty God), so easily humble Himself as a servant?
The answer is in John 13: “Yeshua knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.” (John 13:3)
Yeshua knew who He was, what God had given Him, where He was from and where He was going, and that He would sit at the right hand of His Father in Heaven.
His conviction of His own standing, identity, purpose and authority afforded Him such security that He could walk in humility without being humiliated.
When we also receive deep into our spirit this knowledge of our inheritance, identity, purpose and authority in Messiah, then we can serve the Lord humbly, unnoticed, and even do unappreciated tasks with gladness of heart rather than resentment.
We can joyfully serve Him because He is not only our Master, but also our most intimate friend.
“I no longer call you servants [avadim], because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends [y’didim], for everything that I learned from My father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)
In view of this article, what would be your answer to the following questions:
1. Have you ever thought of yourself as a slave (servant) of Christ? Why?
2. What examples did Jesus show which indicated he was a servant?
3. Why is being his servant a privilege rather than a restriction?
4. Name some persons you know who fit the description of being a servant of Christ. What do they do that gives you this impression? Why do these persons fit your idea of such a description?
5. Being a servant takes humility. But how can you walk in humility without being humiliated?
6. How do you, as a servant of Christ, make Jesus not only your Master but dearest friend?
7. What specifically do you see yourself doing as a humble servant of Christ?
If you wish to share your answers or enter into a discussion on this subject, your comments are welcome. I would like to hear what you would think about these thoughts.
Good News to you!