The tunic of humility
was considered an inner garment, not of outward adornment. Men frequently wore their tunics at knee
length, even though ankle length tunics were also acceptable. It was not
uncommon for men to strip down to their tunics for labor. John 13:4 tells that
Jesus “laid aside His garments” to wash the disciples’ feet. He probably took
off the outer garments and retained His tunic. The action of washing the feet
of His followers signified both humility and service. A believer who wishes to
clothe himself in the humility that Christ modeled, would embrace the attitude
of humility. “Young men, in the same way
be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with
humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to
the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5 NIV)
for most of us in implementing humility is that our ego constrains us. The ego has
a great bias towards self-importance and is not able to realise its own
perverseness. We need to undress and remove the garments of self-adoration in
order to see ourselves for what we are really like, fallen and sinful to the
core before God. As fallen beings, we are certainly no more deserving than
anyone else, yet God graces us with certain beautiful gifts, such as His righteousness. The best way to counter
our over-inflated ego is to over-compensate in our estimation of other people’s
value, to put them first, so as to prevent us from ever coveting a position ahead
of them, or in front of them in the queue of needs or importance. In this way we value the position that comes with righteousness with God, and not that which comes from trying to promote ourselves before others.
intending to emulate Christ, we have to discern God’s incredible perfection given to us by grace, and
to notice He is not conceited about it, so neither should we. The truth is we are very imperfect beings, and we
surely should not entertain conceit or pride in ourselves, either within or
without, as it is most unfitting and undeserved. A good understanding of the
immeasurable greatness of God will have us regarding Him as the object of absolute
adoration, not trying to self-promote ourselves above Him or anyone else.
Let Christ be adorned in His cloak of glory, while we bear our tunics with
one of the most important attributes that Jesus taught and demonstrated to His
followers, both in action and in word, even describing Himself so there would be
no confusion, “I am gentle and humble in
heart.” (Matthew 11:29 NIV) Jesus emphasized in His teaching that children were
not to be overlooked just because they are young and immature, and He rebuked
the disciples for not allowing the children to be allowed to come close to Him.
“Let the little children come to me, and
do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
(Matthew 19:14 NIV) Earlier He had said, “Whoever
humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew
understand that while He was on earth, the Lord befriended the “lowly” working
class people including fishermen. He did not despise the tax collectors, but
even called one of them to become His disciple. He talked with a Samaritan
woman whose race was not only considered contemptible by the Jews, and whose personal
reputation was questionable. (John 4:7-18) He touched lepers who were
considered unclean. (Matthew 8:2-3) And yes, He performed the role of a lowly
servant when He washed His disciple’s smelly dirty feet, to teach them that as
their Lord He was setting an example of subservience for them to follow.
to other people, Jesus wasn’t arrogant because of His own wisdom, or conceited
because of His extraordinary abilities. This is surprising, that Jesus wasn’t
puffed up with His own importance, because throughout the Bible the God is
described like this. “Yours, Lord,
is the greatness and the power and
the glory and the
majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all.” (1 Chronicles
29:11 NIV) “To Him who is able to
keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious
presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and
authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore.” (Jude 1:24-25 NIV)
Jesus had every right to demand praise and be prideful, yet He didn’t.
humility was primarily evident in His transition from immortality to mortality.
The omnipotent, almighty Son of God gave up Heaven’s glory, endless reign and
the honor that goes with it, to become a helpless babe. He went from creating and ruling the
universe to being totally dependent on human parents for His upbringing. Jesus
relinquished His former power, position and place in Heaven to come to earth
knowing that He would ultimately be unjustly accused, punished and executed. This
seems to be an incomprehensible act of the greatest self-effacement. In
comparable terms, it might be like a human deciding to become a lowly ant, live
among them, and die for them, believing that would be the most gallant way for a human to
help the plight of ants.
At the end
of His ministry on Earth, because of His profound love, He allowed Himself to
be beaten and humiliated by soldiers and put to death like a criminal at a
public execution, because it was part of God’s plan for Him to suffer much
indignity for us.
reflect on this, we can appreciate His willingness to submit to love’s demands,
an act that is only possible when one is free of pride. Jesus demonstrated
total surrender of self through obedience to God’s will, showing how His submission
was the essence of true and total humility. If this was God's plan for Jesus; we too, must discard the stained
rags of our own self-importance, in order to humbly follow Him without any form of
personal pride, acknowledging that true glory is the Creator’s alone.
The next time you see someone dressed
beautifully, imagine if they would be prepared to put an apron on over their
fine clothes. If it was God’s will for them to do so, would they strip down to their
tunic and get their hands dirty to wash some feet, or serve some meals to the
homeless in the un-glamorous streets of a poor neighborhood? Stepping down, or
giving up the power of self, to be un-glamorous, to help in some less attractive but useful ways, requires a power
and beauty of spirit not found with, and not possible with pride.