At first the Bible text seemed rather confusing: those who humble themselves will be exalted and vice versa. This is what it says in Luke. But Chief Apostle Schneider went on to explain what exactly this means.
“This sentence from Jesus is also important for us today,” he said at the beginning of the divine service in Solwezi in Zambia on 11 June 2023. He was talking about the Bible text that he had just read to the congregation: “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14: 11).
Human beings want to be God
“It is always the same story with human beings,” the Chief Apostle said. “They have this tendency to behave as if they were God.”
Using examples from the Old Testament, the Chief Apostle showed that God does not accept this He said: “Remember Adam and Eve. They were convinced that they no longer needed God, that they could do without Him: we do not need God to tell us what is good and what is evil; we know that ourselves.” Saul also disobeyed God and kept some of his booty to offer as a sacrifice, instead of destroying everything. “Obviously, it was more important for King Saul to please the people than to obey God,” the Chief Apostle said, emphasising that the story did not end well for Saul. “The Lord rejected him.”
Human beings want to be more
“The other problem is that people want to elevate themselves. They feel that they are above others,” the Chief Apostle said. “People elevate themselves over others when they think that they are better than their neighbour.” But all human beings are sinners and need God’s grace, he said. A widespread form of self-exaltation is giving our own desires and needs far more importance than those of others. Such an attitude can be expressed as follows, the Chief Apostle said: “I don’t care about the consequences for my neighbour. I want this now.” He also stressed that we should not place ourselves above others by thinking that they are less valuable because they are different.
The example of Jesus
“Let’s humble ourselves as Jesus did. He is our example, let us follow Him.” He is an example in
- trust. “Let us humble ourselves as Jesus did. Not because we are forced, not because we have no choice.” Jesus was free, but knew: My Father is the Almighty. He knows everything and He loves Me. I trust Him, even though as a human being I don’t understand what He is doing.
- love. “Jesus humbled Himself because He wanted to serve. He wanted to serve because He loved God and His neighbour.”
- self-love. “Being humble does not mean that we make ourselves small and say: ‘We are so bad, everyone else is much better.’ No, Jesus humbled Himself, but He was aware of His own worth.” The Chief Apostle pointed out: “We are a creation of God, we have been elected by God. But we are also aware that our neighbours too are loved and chosen.”
- unity. “Being one with Christ and with each other is more important than our own ideas, traditions, and opinions. And as good as they may be, we are prepared to give them up if they pose an obstacle to our unity with Christ and with one another.”
- repentance. “We do not repent because we are afraid of God. But we humble ourselves and repent because we know that our sins separate us from Jesus Christ.”
All’s well that ends well
A great future awaits the humble. “God will raise them to a rank they do not deserve and which they cannot attain by their own efforts.” That means God will exalt those who humble themselves and lead them into His kingdom. He will raise them to a position that surpasses all pain and suffering, even death and injustice. But we must be aware: “God will exalt us, but He won’t place us above our neighbour. We will enter His kingdom as firstlings and continue to serve our neighbour. As priests of Jesus Christ we will return to earth to serve mankind.”
This is the outlook the Chief Apostle gave in conclusion: “And at the end of the story, all those who humbled themselves and followed Jesus Christ will be lifted up into a new creation.”