The Glory and Humility of Christ - The Warrior's Journey®

The Glory and Humility of Christ

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.” (Matthew 17:1-3)

Ever since God descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to meet Him there, a precedent was set. While men must ascend to reach mountaintops, God must descend. Just look at that scene in Exodus 19. There God “comes down” to the top of the holy mountain in fire, smoke, and glory (Exodus 19:11, 18, 20). It is Moses who must climb to the top. The same was true for Elijah at Mount Horeb. He must climb the mountain to meet with the Almighty. But God must come down to meet him (1 Kings 19:8-18). Henceforth, psalmists and prophets would plead for God to again “come down and make the mountains smoke” (Psalm 144:5; Isaiah 64:1; Micah 1:3).

There is, of course, one great and wonderful exception to this precedent – Jesus Christ. Let me explain. If we interpret the New Testament correctly, it was the Preincarnate Christ who appeared to Moses at the burning bush and at the top of Mount Sinai (John 8:24, 28, 58). In fact, the prophet Micah explained that Christ’s “goings forth” (i.e. His excursions into our world) have been from “ancient times, even from the days eternity” (Micah 5:2). As the Word of the Father (John 1:1, 14), every visible manifestation of God in the Old Testament (e.g. Genesis 15:17; 18:1-33; 32:24-30; Exodus 3:1-14; 14:19-20; 40:34-38, etc.) was none other than Jesus Christ. This is why Paul calls Jesus “the image of the invisible God” (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15).

Therefore, don’t miss what is happening here at the Mount of Transfiguration, at this “third mountaintop meeting with God.” Here it is Moses and Elijah who descend to the mountaintop in glory. And it is the God of glory who humbles Himself – to the point that He, in meekness and humility, climbs the mountain to meet them.

In our culture that is so enamored with arrogance and swagger, don’t despise the humility of Jesus. By His humility Jesus associates with us condemned sinners and calls us His friends. By His humility, Jesus remains at our side after the mountaintop experiences are over and we must return to the valley of trial and adversity (Matthew 17:7-8; 28:20).


Is there any place for humility in the military? Isn’t humility required to obey the orders of those who outrank us and have more experience than we do? Isn’t humility necessary to recognize our own limitations and ask others for help?

How does Christ’s humility leave us an example to follow? Should it make us more mindful of subordinates’ needs? And to give credit for their contributions?

Let’s follow Christ’s example and humble ourselves before God.

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