Matthew 23:1-12; Numbers 22:41-23:26; Song of Solomon 3:6-5:1
He was a proud politician who talked about his life and career and invited people to examine his life. He thought he was immune from trouble. The problem is that as he talked about how wonderful he was, he was also involved in an illicit relationship that he thought no one would ever discover. This proud politician on the fast track for the presidency soon was discovered and he didn’t even run for re-election to the Senate. What this politician learned is what many others have learned. Pride is easily punctured and leads to our downfall.
Jesus dealt with the issue of pride on a regular basis. Often it was because He dealt with the Pharisees who were proud of their relationship to God. Their pride was based not on the fact that they were among God’s chosen people; but that among God’s chosen people they were special and more beloved of God because of their dedication. With these kinds of people in mind Jesus put it plainly: “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” The more Jesus taught, the more the Pharisees became enraged. All their lives they had sacrificed; all their lives they had stayed on the straight and narrow; all their lives they had followed the law. This upstart rabbi was teaching that not only did it do them any good; but that God loved the very people they looked down upon just as much if not more. Worse, these people, instead of looking up to the Pharisees now believed Jesus.
So often we want to show people how great we are. Some of us might not admit it openly, but deep down we want people to talk about how lucky God is to have us as one of His followers. The message of Jesus Christ strikes at our pride and reminds us that He came to serve. If He came to serve, why should we think that we should be served by others? The call to Christ is not one of luxury and ease; it is a call to service among those who need God’s love and grace the most. Greatness in God’s kingdom can never be self-proclaimed – it can only be recognized by God. Greatness in God’s kingdom can never be sought – it can only be achieved by surprised followers of Christ.