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Jesus Enters Jerusalem and Cleanses the Temple

(Mark 11:1-9, 15-18)

Lesson 6 -- second quarter 2003
April 6, 2003

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications

Practical humility

Come to think of it, that's a strange expression. Humility from the heart, as all heart virtues, cannot be restrained from expressing itself in all kinds of practical ways. Genuine humility flows uninhibited from the innermost being of the one who possesses it. The humble can no more help being practical than you can help breathing.

Most of the time, our breathing is automatic, taking place without any conscious effort on our part. Christian humility is a fruit of the Spirit of God, and that fruit develops and grows and manifests itself freely, often without any focused effort on our part. Some of the time, our breathing is quite deliberate, happening at the time and pace of our choosing. Likewise there are occasions when the believer purposefully determines to exhibit a particular demonstration of humility. Should our breathing ever cease for too long a time period (which really isn't very long at all!), our temporal life and usefulness come to an end. If we as Christians quit being humble for too long (which probably isn't very long either), our spiritual life and usefulness also cease.

The sum of those two paragraphs is simply this: Christians must be humble, and humility must be practical.

Christians must be humble because Christ was humble. His triumphal entrance to Jerusalem wasn't a spectacularly impressive manifestation of earthly royalty. No, just Jesus riding on a young donkey over a trail made by palm branches and discarded outer garments. Was He entitled to something far, far grander? Absolutely! Listen to part of His prayer recorded in John 17:5 -- "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." Despite "being in the form of God, [He] thought it not robbery to be equal with God" (Philippians 2:6). Instead He made an historic and unprecedented choice: He "made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:7,8). Shall a Christian then dare to choose pride and self-glorification? Shall a Christian stoop to insist on his own rights and to declare his own worth and superiority? God forbid! Rather he should heed and live by Philippians 2:5 which precedes the above statements of Jesus' humility by exhorting, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."

But how can we allow practical expressions of humility in our own lives? Well, consider these few verses and mine them for the practical applications to which they lend themselves.

"But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room" (Luke 14:10).

"He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve" (Luke 22:26).

"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility" (1 Peter 5:5).

"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another" (Romans 12:10).

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves" (Philippians 2:3).

Defying God's purposes

In one of His most memorable visits to the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus declared very forcefully, "My house shall be . . . but ye have made it" (Mark 11:17). They violated God's purposes for that temple. How are you doing with the temple which is your body?

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