The Upside Down Kingdom Part 3
The Leprosy Mission produces an internal daily devotional guide, The Bridge, for use in offices, hospitals, clinics and projects around the world. Current and former staff and trustees from many countries contribute to the guide. We will share with you contributions made by one of our team.
Norman Lazonby, a member of our board, has written this series of thoughts on the Beatitudes.
When Jesus wanted to demonstrate how those in positions of power and authority should behave, he chose to wash his disciples’ feet. In Matt 23:12 Jesus says: The greatest among you must be a servant. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
The Jews expected Israel to inherit the earth. They were expecting God to act in power to restore their earthly Kingdom. But Jesus turned their expectation upside down. God was no longer going to act with power and might in the way that he had done in the past. God was now acting through Jesus going to the cross – the way of humility and weakness.
Humility is essentially having a true view of oneself which expresses itself in attitude and conduct with respect to others.
The humble will inherit the earth. One would have expected the opposite. In general, the tough and powerful succeed in this life, whilst weaklings ‘go to the wall’. But in God’s Kingdom, such earthly experiences are turned upside down.
Psalm 37 says: Don’t worry about evil people who prosper. …. Wait patiently for God to act. …. The lowly will possess the land and live in peace and prosperity.
The reference to ‘inheriting the earth’ may help us understand that the blessings promised are not all in some far off future after death. Jesus promised all the blessings to his followers in the here and now. We begin to ‘inherit the earth’ in this life since if we are Christ’s then all things are already ours (1 Cor 3:22-23).
Prayer: Living Lord Jesus, help us to have a true view of ourselves. Remind us that we are not better than others. Give us patience to deal sensitively with other people. When we are tempted by pride to look to our own strength, show us how weak we really are.
Question: We may admit before God that we are miserable sinners but how do we respond when other people point out our failings?