Matthew 3:11, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Luke 5:8, “But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”
1 Corinthians 15:9, “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
The Bible is filled with examples of people humbling themselves before the Lord. Sometimes that humbling is self-imposed, but more accurately it occurs after an encounter with God. We are all big, brave, courageous and strong on our own — until we meet God! A meeting with God drops us to our knees.
I recall a time in my life when I was humbled. I was let go from a ministry of which I really wanted to be a part. I was “righteous” about what they were doing wrong and believed that what I was doing was right. I was use to being in charge and I just “knew” that I knew the truth about the situation. But in reality, I was being shaped for a good lesson in humility which would end my relationship with that ministry. I certainly was humbled and felt unworthy for some time to return to ministry.
But being humbled by God is not a bad thing. Being unworthy in our own eyes can be good when we realize God is greater and we are lesser. But in truth, we are the reason for the Lord’s affection. When he died upon the cross, he had each of us in mind. We are not unworthy, we have been made worthy by the blood of the Lamb.
The verses I have chosen today are examples of righteous followers of Jesus humbling themself before the Lord. The first in Matthew 3.11 is of John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus, and prophet who prepares the way for Jesus. In so doing he says, “He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals.” John was great on his own but humbled himself before God by making a way for Jesus.
The second passage is Luke 5.8 and is when Jesus meets Peter for the first time. Jesus has Peter cast his net once more, even though he’d been fishing all night and had caught nothing. Upon pulling In the net, which was now so full of fish that the net was beginning to break, Peter falls down at Jesus’ feet and says, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”
The final passage is the Apostle Paul, author of a third of the New Testament, and once a Jew who was met radically by Jesus on the road to Damascus. Now Paul is a staunch advocate of the faith, the lead missionary for taking the Gospel to the Gentiles. He is a significant vessel in the eyes of the Lord. But in 1 Corinthians 15.9 he says to that church, “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
John the Baptizer, Peter and Paul all humbled themselves before the Lord. On their own they and like us, they are unworthy, but with Jesus we are made worthy.
As we near Easter and the end of the ABC’s of Lent, let us practice humility. Let us lift of the name of the Lord and glorify the one who is worthy of our praise. Although we are unworthy, the least of the apostles, as Paul writes, we are made blameless in his eyes.
“O Lord God, you are good. I am but a servant of your cause and a messenger of your Name. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with power and love. Allow me to humble myself before you so you might lift me up. Help me to understand my worth in your Kingdom and your willingness to die for me. I praise you Lord and lift up your name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen