Humility may be one of the most difficult things to achieve, especially in America. Over the years, our culture seems to have made humility a sign of weakness and self-confidence an attribute to desire. Kids are commonly coached to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, or to look out for yourself, or you can do anything you put your mind to. Perhaps these comments are appropriate depending on the right context, but I wonder if this constant “You can do it” propaganda is a stumbling block to the Gospel.
Take a look at the above verse. This is Jesus speaking. He is telling his disciples why He came to Earth…to serve. To serve is to provide. It is very difficult to allow someone else to provide for you. Many times our pride does not allow it. We desire to do it ourselves. So what is Jesus providing? A ransom.
The word ransom is explosive. When we think of a ransom, we think of kidnapping. We think of captivity. We think of being tied down. We think of being blindfolded. And we think of a price being demanded. This is exactly the picture Jesus wants to create in our minds when he speaks this way because this is exactly our condition in this fallen world.
Jesus tells us in John 8:34 that, “everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” In 2 Peter 2:19 it says we are “slaves of corruption.” In Titus 3:3 it says we are “foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passion and pleasures.” Very few people recognize the chains of their sin that are tied around their heart. We are born into this slavery, so that is all we know. At times we can feel the captivity of our souls, but many times it is lost in the white noise of the world.
This is why Jesus spent so much time preaching about our sins and the consequences. He wants us to wake up to the fact that we are slaves, that we are a people who need ransomed.
So how does Jesus ransom us? He dies.
Romans 6:23 tells us “the wages of sin is death.” This means the price for the ransom for our hearts is that someone has to die. Think of it as a fine. If I am speeding and get caught, then I have to pay a fine, perhaps $100. If we sin against an infinitely Holy God, our fine is death. This is the price that must be paid.
This is why Jesus had to die. Someone had to pay the price for our hearts and the price is death. Jesus gives His life as payment for our souls. This is called the great exchange, Jesus stands in our place, and we stand in His. He pays for our sin, and we get His righteousness.
So what does this have to do with humility? Everything. In life we have a choice to make, we can 1) chose to remain a slave to our sin and deal with the eternal consequences, 2) attempt to pay our own price, or 3) allow Jesus to pay the price. The first two options lead to the same end. The third option leads to freedom in Christ.
It is the ultimate act of humility to place your eternal future completely in the hands of Jesus. By doing this you are allowing him to serve you by being the entire ransom for your soul. By placing your trust in Jesus to free you, you are saying, “I can’t do it. I need someone to do it for me.” You are recognizing that you are unable to pay your own price, and that you need Jesus to do it for you. It is ultimate humility to recognize that Jesus’ death on the cross paid for all of your sins past, present and future, and nothing you do can achieve your freedom. It is Christ alone.
“My chains are gone,
I've been set free,
My God, my Savior has ransomed me,
And like a flood His mercy rains,