Jesus made many “I AM” statements recorded in the gospels. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls.” The word “gentle” is the Greek word praus, which means to be humble. It is used in Matthew 5:5 to describe those who will inherit the earth, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” It translated with the word “humble” in Matthew 21:5, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey…’” The word “lowly” in Matthew 11:28 is the Greek word tapeinos, which is translated in other passages with the word “humble.”
The word “humble” means to bow down, to be lowly. It is the opposite of being high-minded. A high-minded person looks down on others. A humble person sees greatness in others and in God. A humble person does not put herself or himself down as much as they lift others up and have chosen to see the goodness in others, especially in God.
Jesus was always seeing greatness in others. He could see and sense faith in the people He was around. Faith is the greatness in a person’s life. He gave hope because He could see what the Father wanted to do and was about to do. Most of all, He saw the greatness of the Father as He walked in God’s will.
In choosing to see the greatness of humility in the life of Jesus, you are humbling yourself. God has promised to build greatness in the one who is humble. Look again at 1 Peter 5:6 – 10, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you…And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
The humble will suffer in this world. This is a guarantee. But God uses suffering in the life of the humble to build a greater strength than the suffering. He heals, makes strong, undergirds, and builds a deep foundation as a result of the trials in life. The phrase, establish you, in the verse above is the Greek word themelios, which describes the solid foundation upon which a building, city, or nation is built. It also has the meaning of steadfastness. Jesus used this word when He told the parable about the man who built his house upon the solid rock of hearing His word and doing it (Matthew 7:24).
As God builds deeper and deeper strength in the life of the humble, they are able to stand stronger and stronger through the storms of life. As they go through these trials, standing (exalted), their life becomes a witness to the love and power of God. The thing that humbles others, exalts the humble, and bears witness to Christ and the blessing of strength in Christ. This is one of the ways of God, and it is who you are in Christ.