You’d have to be crazy to want to be humbled. We live in a society where, whether blatantly or not, every Instagram post is telling you who’s the best. It’s not natural to want to take a backseat in a society like that –– plus, “being humbled” usually involves pain or loss of some kind. That means, the fact that Almighty God exchanged all the majesty due his name for humility –– for us –– is a crazy act of love and sacrifice! This weekend, join us as we celebrate Palm Sunday and the humility of God!
1. A humble colt instead.
- We live in a world that is constantly grasping for identity. They search for this identity in their work, their savings, or their talents. Jesus’ identity as the Son of God wasn’t something he needed to “grasp.” He came to earth knowing that people would not recognize him for who he was.
- As the Son of God, Jesus could have chosen to make a dramatic and wealthy entrance. Instead, he chose to enter Jerusalem on a donkey. He didn’t puff himself up, but humbled himself. He knew who he was and what he had come to do, and had nothing to prove.
- As followers of Jesus, our identities are secure in him. He has called us beloved. We don’t need to grasp at that identity, and we have nothing to prove to ourselves or to the world.
Are there any ways you find yourself trying to “prove yourself” to other people? How does knowing your identity is secure in Christ change how you see yourself and how you interact with other people?
2. The praise of the humble instead.
- The pharisees’ job was to teach the people God’s law and God’s character, but they were the ones who rebuked Jesus. Instead of being at the forefront of what God was doing, they missed it completely. It was their pride that kept them from entering into praise with the people.
- In contrast to the pharisees, the disciples and the people were shouting the arrival of Jesus and praising him. A humble person has no trouble praising God. It’s not difficult for a humble person to acknowledge that God is good because they know their own weakness.
- The humble are also more willing to praise God simply because they are not caught up in praising themselves. If we’re so distracted by praising our accomplishments, we might miss what God is up to just like the pharisees did.
What does it mean that God himself is humble? Why does humility matter to God? Are you humble? In what areas of your life is God inviting you into deeper humility?
3. Humble tears instead.
- We would expect that in the light of the triumphal entry, Jesus would be feeling pretty good. He appeared to be popular and well accepted. Instead, we see that he wept at the gates of Jerusalem. This reaction was no doubt confusing to the cheering crowd around him, but he wept because of his love for them.
- The Fatherly heart of God was heartbroken when people missed the truth of who Jesus was and what he came to do. Jesus was so connected to the heart of his Father, that his heart also broke, in spite of the party that was going on around him. He was willing to let his heart break over the things that broke his Father’s heart.
- The heart of God still breaks when people miss the truth of who Jesus is and what he has done. It is easy to just set that heartbreak aside or to try and drown it out with our busy world. We, like Jesus, need to allow our hearts to break for this lost world.
What things break God’s heart? What kinds of things break your heart? Does your heart break for what breaks God’s heart? How can you align what moves you with what moves God?
4. A humble house instead.
- Once again, the humble heart of Jesus surprised those in the temple. The temple was the pride of Jerusalem, and those standing nearby probably thought that it would impress Jesus. Instead, he drove out the money lenders and cleansed the temple of greed. Instead of railing against money, he simply set the standard of what the House of God was meant to be–a house of prayer.
- Prayer is the word we use for our conversations with God. When we spend time in God’s presence, we are spending time in prayer. What Jesus is saying about the temple is that when God wanted a house built, it was meant to be a place where people could come and have conversation with him. However, people had turned the place of conversation into a place where they could make money.
- In any relationship, we need to spend time in conversation with that person if there is going to be any depth. Our relationship with God needs conversation too. If we’re going to grow in our relationship with him, we need to spend time talking to him. Prayer is the key to our relationship with God.
How can you increase the frequency and depth of your conversations with God? What would it look like to make your entire life a “house” of prayer?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?