Teachings of Jesus on Discipleship
Lesson #7: Humility and Consideration for Others

  by: Bill Bratt         Email: info@icogsfg.org

  A disciple is a person who subscribes to the teachings of a master and assists in spreading his teachings. A Christian is a person who is a disciple of Jesus Christ, who is our master, and the disciple has a strong desire in spreading Jesusí teachings and His message of the gospel of the kingdom of God.

Jesus had much to say to His disciples about humility. He lived His life as the best example as to how to live in humility. 

What is Humility?

Websterís Dictionary defines the word "humility" as: "the quality or state of being humble." To be "humble" is to reflect a spirit of submission. It is not to be proud, haughty, arrogant or assertive.

The Holman Bible Dictionary defines "humility" as: "A personal quality in which an individual shows dependence on God and respect for other persons."

Letís notice Jesusí admonition to not follow the example of the Scribes and Pharisees: "Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, {2} saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. {3} "Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. {4} "For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. {5} "But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. {6} "They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, {7} "greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.' {8} "But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. {9} "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. {10} "And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. {11} "But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. {12} "And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:1-12).

Jesus told His disciples about how the Scribes and Pharisees set a bad example in exalting themselves to be seen of men. Then He said in verse 11 that if you want to be great then you will be a servant and in verse 12 He admonishes us to be humble.

Pride is the opposite of humility. Pride is the quality of being proud, filled with inordinate self-esteem and conceit. It is being arrogant, haughty, insolent and overbearing.

Letís see what Jesus said about pride: "And He said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. {21} "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, {22} "thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. {23} "All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:20-23).

Jesus said that pride is evil and it defiles the man.

What Does it Take to be Great in the Kingdom of Heaven?

Jesusí disciples were discussing among themselves about who was the greatest. Letís notice the lesson that Jesus teaches them: "At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" {2} Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, {3} and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. {4} "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. {5} "Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me" (Matthew 18:1-5).

The lesson that Jesus taught is that to be great in the Kingdom of Heaven, His disciples must have humility like that of a child. A child depends totally upon his parents for all of his needs which would include his food, protection, shelter, clothing and love. Our child-like humility is to be totally dependent on God for all of our physical and spiritual needs including love.

To be humble is to take the lowly place: "So He (Jesus) told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: {8} "When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; {9} "and he who invited you and him come and say to you, 'Give place to this man,' and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. {10} "But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, 'Friend, go up higher.' Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. {11} "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 14:7-11).

Jesus is giving us an important lesson that if we are not humble we could end up in an embarrassing situation. Jesus again tells His disciples that they must be humble, then they will be exalted.

Jesusí Disciples are to be Different

On Jesusí last Passover, the night before He was crucified, Jesus and His disciples were together on this very solemn occasion and again the disciples begin to argue about who was the greatest among them. Letís notice another lesson that Jesus gives His disciples: "Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. {25} And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called 'benefactors.' {26} "But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. {27} "For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. {28} "But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. {29} "And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, {30} "that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:24-30).

The lesson that Jesus gave is that the disciples are to be different from the kings of the Gentiles who lord it over their subjects. Jesus said that to be great you must serve as He served his fellow man. Jesus was a servant and He set the example that we should follow (John 13:15).

On Jesusí last Passover before His crucifixion, after the Passover meal was over, He instituted the New Testament symbols of the bread and the wine in which the bread represented His broken body and the wine represented His shed blood. Since Jesus was our Passover sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7) and He became our lamb that was slain, He then instituted these new symbols for the Passover.

Jesus also did something else that was very special on this Passover evening: "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, {4} rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. {5} After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded" (John 13:3-5).

Jesus humbled Himself as a slave and He washed His disciplesí feet.

Now letís notice the lesson that Jesus gave to His disciples: "So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? {13} "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. {14} "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. {15} "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. {16} "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. {17} "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them" (John 13:12-17).

Notice in verses 14-15 that Jesus set us an example that we are to humble ourselves as He did and wash one anotherís feet when we participate in the Passover service. The lesson that we are to learn is that we are to be like a slave and to practice the same humility as Jesus our Master.

Letís notice verse 17 again: "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them". The King James Version translates the word "blessed" as happy. So we are to be "happy" in being humble in washing one anotherís feet.

Was Jesus Humble?

Letís notice another area of Jesusí humility. The apostle John related twice in his gospel account that Jesus did not seek His own will but the will of the Father and that He could do nothing without the Father: "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me" (John 5:30). See also John 8:28.

Jesus was humble and He submitted to Godís will. The night before Jesus was crucified He was with His disciples. He knew that His crucifixion would happen soon and he was sorrowful and deeply distressed. "Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there." {37} And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. {38} Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me." {39} He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." {40} Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, "What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? {41} "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." {42} Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done"" (Mat 26:36-42).

When Jesus first prayed, He was hoping that God could work out another solution for the salvation of man besides the horrible way for Him to die through the crucifixion, but He realized that it had to be done Godís way. Jesus said "Your will be done."

Jesus was humble and realized that God the Father knew what was best.

Consideration for Others

Disciples of Jesus must be careful not to be offensive and cause someone to stumble. Jesus said to His disciples: "It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! {2} "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. {3} "Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. {4} "And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him" (Luke 17:1-4).

We need to learn two lessons from this passage. Our actions that might cause someone to stumble should be carefully avoided and we must humble ourselves in forgiving someone who repents.

In Conclusion: Jesus taught His disciples about the need for humility. As Jesusí disciples we must follow His example by showing our dependence on God and having respect for other people by being willing to be a servant.st God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be" (Romans 8:7). 

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