Theme: Burdens Rolled Away: Pride
This week’s lessons talk about the need for every Christian to be marked by humility, and that the sins that fight against this humility can only be taken away by the Lord Jesus Christ, whose own humility took him to the cross for us.
Scripture: Matthew 20:20-28
A third incident came before the triumphal entry. On this occasion the mother of James and John came to Jesus asking if her sons could sit on the right and left sides of Jesus when He came in His kingdom. The other disciples heard about it and got angry with James and John. Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:25-28; cf. Mark 10:42-45).
We would think perhaps that after that episode and lecture the disciples would have learned the lesson and that the desire for chief place among them might be forgotten. But this was not so. Apparently the conflict intensified and continued even into the upper room. For, if Luke is giving us an actual chronology of this evening, we learn that even after the institution of the Lord’s Supper “a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest” (Luke 22:24). It was at this point perhaps that the Lord divested Himself of His clothing and performed the foot washing.
One of the greatest books on the Christian life that I have read is A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God. He deals with humility in this book in a chapter on “Meekness and Rest,” and he says quite correctly that learning humility from Jesus delivers us from crushing burdens.
1. The burden of pride. Humility is the exact opposite of pride. So to the extent that we learn meekness in Christ’s school, so far are we delivered from the destructive weight of self-love, pride, and arrogance. The burden of pride is a heavy one. In his study Tozer asks us to consider how much trouble has come into our own lives because of our prideful reaction to someone who has given us offense:
As long as you set yourself up as a little god to which you must be loyal
there will be those who will delight to offer affront to your idol. How then
can you hope to have inward peace? The heart’s fierce effort to protect itself
from every slight, to shield its touchy honor from the bad opinion of friend
and enemy, will never let the mind have rest. Continue this fight through the
years and the burden will become intolerable. Yet the sons of earth are carrying
this burden continually, challenging every word spoken against them, cringing
under every criticism, smarting under each fancied slight, tossing sleepless if
another is preferred before them.1
What is the first “crushing burden” Tozer mentions? How is it acquired?
How does Tozer describe this burden?
Reflection: Have you seen Tozer’s description of this first burden to be accurately portrayed in people around you, or even in your own life? How can you use the example of Christ’s humility to combat this?
1A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1948), p. 112.