Good Thursday Dear Church,
I hope and pray you are doing well on this wonderful Thursday afternoon.
We are three weeks into the Gospel of John. One of the surprising things that I have been seeing is a subtle, but profound, theme in the gospel of John: humility. John is out to humble us. John does this through the characters in his gospel. Obviously, John the Baptist’s faithful refrain, “He must increase and I must decrease” (3:30) speaks to this. Jesus regularly interacts with those who are low on the social rung: the Samaritan woman (chap. 4), the lame man (chap 5.), the man born blind (chap 9.), and Mary Magdalene (chap 12). On the other hand, John exposes the prideful leaders of Jerusalem, for example, in the second half of John 2, or in his discourse with Nicodemus in chapter 3.
John also does this by repetitively, again and again, reminding us that our salvation is from God. We are born “of God” not of the will of man (1:12-13), we cannot see God on our own and only the Son can make us to know the Father (1:18). Salvation is from him and to him and through him. It is not a result of my own will, my own ability, my own good works.
And this is convicting for me, because I struggle with pride. I sometimes put others down to puff myself up. I think of myself more highly than I should. I am tempted to show off my successes and hide my failures. I struggle with pride. Most of my insecurities, my conflicts with others, my pet sins can be traced back to this.
But here is the good news that John gives: God saves even the proud. It is true, John’s Gospel takes no prisoners when it comes to our pride. He is committed to freeing us from our pride. God humbles us that he might exalt his Son. But, by exalting his Son, he saves the proud like me. It is, after all, Nicodemus who in some of the last chapters (19:39) finds redemption.
So Christians, let us humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he might exalt us. (cf. 1 Pet 5:8)