40. Why was Isa a humble person who did not try to overthrow the Roman occupation of Israel?

Jesus said to Pilate the Roman Governor that His kingdom was not of this world, John 18 verse 36: ‘My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But My Kingdom is not of this world.’ To the religious man Nicodemus he said: ‘I tell you a truth, unless you are born again you cannot see the Kingdom of God.’(John 3:3) Nicodemus, thinking in human terms, thought that Jesus expected him to return to his mother’s womb and be born a second time. Jesus corrected his natural thinking and told him that he could only understand what he was saying if he thought spiritually. Jesus said that this rebirth was both of water (natural birth) and of the Spirit (meaning the supernatural act of the Holy Spirit granting new birth to the repentant sinner) (John 3:5). Although Jesus had the power to call down legions of angels from heaven and wipe out the Roman and Jewish authorities, He humbly submitted Himself to death on the cross because of His unconditional love for mankind. Jesus understood clearly that ‘he was the Lamb that would be slain for the sin of the world.’

In Revelation 5 verses 1-14 we read the vision of the Apostle John concerning the last times, when the Lamb of God (Jesus) opens the Scroll: ‘Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: ‘Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?’ But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it. Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Jesus), the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirits of God that is sent out into every part of the earth. He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song with these words:

‘You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God, and they will reign on the earth.’ Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered, to receive power and riches, and wisdom and strength, and honour and glory and blessing.’ And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: ‘Blessing and honour and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.’ And the four living beings said, ‘Amen!’ And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.’

This is the demonstration of the humility of Jesus, even though He was One with God, He humbled Himself to die on a cursed cross to ransom people from every tribe nation and tongue to Himself to live with Him for eternity. This is the demonstration of His unconditional love for anyone who will put their faith and trust in Him. In these verses from Revelation we see that Jesus is so humble that He does not come forward to break the seals on the scroll. It is only when He is asked to do that He comes forward and breaks those seals. Revelation chapters 6 to 8 tells us what each seal of the scroll contained.

On another occasion Jesus was asked who was the greatest in His kingdom. He replied by putting a little child among them (Mark 9:36 – 37): ‘Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.’ ’

Jesus called the people of His time to repentance. Repentance requires a person to humble themselves and admit they are unclean sinners and worthy of hell fire. In Luke 13 Jesus was asked tough questions about the actions of Pilate, who murdered Galilean worshippers in the Temple, and he answered like this: ‘Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee’ Jesus asked. ‘Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.’ Jesus made it clear that only those who humble themselves by repenting of their sins will enter the Kingdom of God. This is why it is important for worshippers of God to be humble people.

Jesus used the life and example of John the Baptist to teach the principle of humility in relation to the Kingdom of God. Luke 7 verses 24-28 says: ‘After John’s disciples left, Jesus began talking about him to the crowds. “What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind? Or were you expecting to see a man dressed in expensive clothes? No, people who wear beautiful clothes and live in luxury are found in palaces. Were you looking for a prophet? Yes, and he is more than a prophet. John is the man to whom the Scriptures refer when they say, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!’ When they heard this, all the people—even the tax collectors—agreed that God’s way was right, for they had been baptised by John. But the Pharisees and experts in religious law rejected God’s plan for them, for they had refused John’s baptism.’ The religious pride of the Pharisees was a stumbling block to their entry into the Kingdom of God.

Jesus reveals Himself as a servant leader. He said, as recorded in Matthew 18 verses 1 and 4, ‘Who then is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?’—-‘Whoever humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’ Again He said in Matthew 23 verses 11-12: ‘But the greatest among you shall be your servant, and whoever exalts himself shall be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.’