Matthew 11:28-29; John 8:28-29
I’ve been involved in a serious study of Scripture for more than fifty years of my life, and in all that time I have found only one place where Jesus Christ—in His own words—describes His own “inner man.” In doing so, He uses only two words. Unlike most celebrities, those words are not phenomenal and great. Jesus doesn’t even mention that He was sought after as a speaker.
Although it is true, He doesn’t say: “I am wise and powerful,” or “I am holy and eternal,” or “I am all-knowing and absolute deity.” Do you remember what He says? Hold on, it may surprise you.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28–29)
I am gentle. I am humble. These are servant terms. Gentle means “strength under control.” It is used of a wild stallion that has been tamed. Humble in heart means “lowly”—the word picture of a helper. Unselfishness and thoughtfulness are in the description. It doesn’t mean weak and insignificant, however.
Frankly, I find it extremely significant that when Jesus lifts the veil of silence and once for all gives us a glimpse of Himself, the real stuff of His inner person, He uses gentle and humble. When we read that God the Father is committed to forming us to the image of His Son, qualities such as these are what He wants to see emerge. We are never more like Christ than when we fit into His description of Himself.
And how do those things reveal themselves? In what way do we reveal them the best? In our obedience. Servanthood and obedience go together like Siamese twins. And the finest illustration of this is the Son Himself who openly confesses, “I do nothing on My own initiative . . . . I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:28, 29).
In other words, Jesus’s self-description is verified by His obedience. Like no one else who has ever lived, He practices what He preaches.