HUMILITY, chapter three, part one)
"I am in the midst of you as he that serveth." Luke 22: 27
In the Gospel of John we have the inner life of our Lord laid open to us. Jesus speaks frequently of His relation to the Father, of the motives by which He is guided, of His consciousness of the power and spirit in which He acts. Though the word humble does not occur, we shall nowhere in Scripture see so clearly wherein His humility consisted. We have already said that this grace is in truth nothing but that simple consent of the creature to let God be all, in virtue of which it surrenders itself to His working alone. In Jesus we shall see how both as the Son of God in heaven, and as man upon earth, He took the place of entire subordination, and gave God the honor and the glory which is due to Him-- And what He taught so often was made true to Himself: "He that humbleth him: shall be exalted." As it is written, "He humbled Himself, therefore God highly exalted Him."
Listen to the words in which our Lord speaks of His relation to the Father, and how unceasingly He uses the words not, and nothing, of Himself. The not I, in which Paul expresses his relation to Christ, is the very spirit of what Christ says of His relation with the Father.
"The Son can do nothing of Himself" (John 5: 19) "I can of My own self do nothing; My judgment is just, because I seek not Mine own will" (John 5: 30) "I receive not glory from men" (John 5: 41) "I am come not to do Mine own will" (John 6:38) "My teaching is not Mine" (John 7:16) "I am not come of Myself" (John 7:28) "I do nothing of Myself" (John 8:28) "I have not come of Myself, but He sent Me" (John 8: 42). "I seek not Mine own glory" (John 8:50) "The words that I say, I speak not from Myself" (John 14: 10). "The word which ye hear is not Mine" (John 14: 24).
These words open to us the deepest roots of Christ's life and work. They tell us how it was that the Almighty God was able to work His mighty redemptive work through Him. They show what Christ counted the state of heart which became Him as the Son of the Father. They teach us what the essential nature and life is of that redemption which Christ accomplished and now communicates. It is this: He was nothing, that God might be all. He resigned Himself with His will and His powers entirely for the Father to work in Him. Of His own power, His own will, and His own glory, of His whole mission with all His works and His teaching, of all this He said, It is not I; I am nothing; I have given Myself to the Father to work; I am nothing, the Father is all.
This life of entire self-abnegation, of absolute submission and dependence upon the Father's will, Christ found to be one of perfect peace and joy. He lost nothing by giving all to God. God honored His trust, and did all for Him, and then exalted Him to His own right hand in glory. And because Christ had thus humbled Himself before God, and God was ever before Him, He found it possible to humble Himself before men too, and to be the Servant of all. His humility was simply the surrender of Himself to God, to allow Him to do in Him what He pleased, whatever men around might say of Him, or do to Him.