Gentleness is an underrated quality today. Humility is laughed at. Social media has taught us to pay attention to the loud, the noisy, the weird and wild, and the flamboyant. Truly so many of the world’s standards are so opposite of what God deems important and valuable.
“A knowledge of the truth depends not so much upon strength of intellect as upon pureness of purpose, the simplicity of an earnest, dependent faith. To those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance, angels of God draw near. The Holy Spirit is given to open to them the rich treasures of the truth.” — Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 59.
Read Matthew 5:5, 1 Peter 3:4, and Isaiah 57:15. How would you define meekness and humility based on these texts?
Paul refers to “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” in 2 Corinthians 10:1. Meekness and humility are not descriptions of a pushover, of people who cannot stand their own ground. Jesus Himself did not seek confrontation and often avoided it because His mission had not yet been fulfilled (John 4:1-3). When confrontation came to Him, however, He responded boldly. Yet at the same time, He spoke kindly. His laments over Jerusalem just prior to the cross, for example, were not shouted curses but tear-filled word pictures of a devastating future (Luke 19:41-44).
In the New Testament, Jesus is often portrayed as the second Moses. He speaks from a mountain when He lays out the principles of His kingdom (Matthew 5:1). He provides large crowds with miracle food (Matthew 14:13-21). Numbers 12:3 describes Moses as “meek,” which is echoed in Matthew 11:29. People witnessing the feeding of the 5,000 exclaim in wonder, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world” (John 6:14) — a reference to Deuteronomy 18:15 and Moses’ role as a prophet.
Jesus’ humility and meekness clearly supersede Moses’. After all, He is our divine Savior. While Moses offered to give himself to save his people (Exodus 32:32), his death would not have accomplished anything, for Moses was a sinner himself and in need of a Savior, a sin-bearer to pay for his sins. Though we can learn from Moses and the story of his life, we cannot find salvation in him.
Instead, we need a Savior who can stand in our stead, not just as an Intercessor but as our Substitute. Intercession is important, but it is only God hanging on the cross as our Sin-bearer, as the One who paid in Himself the penalty for our sin, who can save us from the legal consequences that our sins would, justly, bring to us. This is why, however great the example Jesus was for us, it would all be for nothing without the Cross and the resurrection.