Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas Reflection on the Humility of Jesus

Today was a sweet Christmas. But today was also a really tough Christmas. My grandparents are all nearing the end of their journeys here on earth and it is possible that this is my last Christmas with them. I had to steal away some moments to myself so I could weep a bit before composing myself and heading back out among the family. I don’t really care what that fact does for the image anyone may have of me—all of those tears were brought on by conversations with my grandmother on my mom’s side.

Grandma prays fervently for the return of Jesus. She is ready to “go home.” And by “home,” she means Jesus. Wherever Jesus is, that’s where she wants to go and be. If Jesus were going to greet people at Wal-Mart for all of eternity, she would bow at His feet and kiss His them while He did it. And when I listen to her talk about our home I can’t help but think of the mighty King Jesus that reigns over our home (which is indeed Heaven) and the entire Universe:

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

That is how Jesus is described to us in Revelation 19. It’s not exactly the nativity scene baby Jesus is it? But I couldn’t help it. That’s what I thought about all day: the Jesus of Revelation 19 came into this world as a helpless baby? I mean, in the words of Kanye West and Jay-Z: That’s just cray (“cray” means crazy).

This causes me to reflect on the humility of Jesus. The humility of Jesus is something we can’t fully understand. But when we view Jesus’ birth in light of Revelation 19, we get a much better picture of just how amazing His holy condescension to us really is.

Think about it…

The God who breathed stars into being from His mouth (Psalm 33:6) humbled Himself to the point of becoming a baby whose mouth regurgitated food and could not adequately hold in saliva. Jesus as a baby spit up and drooled all over himself—this Jesus who breathed stars into existence and whose very mouth is a weapon of war.

The God who has the earth as the stool for His feet (Isaiah 66:1) became a baby on earth whose feet could not even hold him up. He could not cover his own feet to keep them warm. This baby Jesus became a toddler who could not tie His own sandals on his feet—feet that use the earth as a footstool and tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God.

The God who has a voice that thunders (Job 40:9) became a baby who could not speak—He could only coo and gurgle as babies do. The very voice that created the universe became a voice so small. The God who sees all the children of men (Psalm 52:3) became like them. The God who knows our thoughts from afar (Psalm 139:2) came to know what it was like to be us while dwelled among us (John 1:14). The God whose eyes are like a flame of fire became a baby whose eyes could barely make out the face of His own mother when He was first born in Bethlehem.

The God who is aware of every birth—even of the animals (Job 39:1-4)—was born himself. The God who shut the seas up when they burst forth from a “womb’’ (Job 38:8) was himself born from the womb of a woman. The God who holds the life of every woman and all things together in place (Colossians 1:17) was dependent upon a woman to carry him and hold Him in place.

The God who does not need anything because He does whatever He wants (Psalm 13:5-6) chose to become a baby who needed someone to change his diaper for him. This is unbelievable humility. The God who does not need anything from mankind and is not served by human hands (Acts 17:25) chose to become as a baby who did need to be served by human hands as a baby.

The God of Revelation 19 who sits upon a horse was born in a place that reeked of horses and all of their filth. The God of Revelation 19, which fears nothing and cannot die—nor even be damaged in slightest—He became killable. He was a helpless baby who could be damaged and get sick and be hurt. And that baby grew up and was slaughtered by sinners, for sinners—for me and for you. He emptied Himself to serve us—even though in sin we have failed to serve Him as God.

The God of Revelation 19 who wears a robe dipped in the blood of His enemies…He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and held by a teenage girl who would die in the very presence of His Glory (see Isaiah 6) if He did not veil Himself in flesh. Yes, we serve a God who humbled Himself—even to the point of death (Philippians 2:8).

Whatever gospel you read today, whichever version you heard—the Messiah in a manger (Mathew and Luke) or the Logos (the Word) become flesh (John)—the fact of the gospel is this: God is with us. He came amongst us! Oh what humility!

Jesus humbled Himself because He loves us, He lived a perfect life, and He understands just how desperate we are in need of grace (Hebrews 2:17; 4:15). His humility is based not on sin but on grace. His humility is a rooted in His understanding of grace and His understanding of grace is that He is it! He is the only way back to the Father (John 14). We need Him. And at just the right time (Galatians 4:4-5) He came to our rescue because we need Him more than anything else in the universe.

This grace shown to us should be humbling. The sacrifice made to come save us is more than we could ever imagine—it is far greater than I could ever dream of writing about, and that causes my heart to worship even more. And in fact, we can read in Matthew 2 that the Magi came to do one thing: worship Jesus. I pray that we are wise enough and humble enough to do the same—for He is worthy of our worship. I pray this meditation of my heart blesses you this Christmas and the year to come.

O Father, in the name of Jesus, please begin a work in our lives that humbles us and makes us more like Christ. May we see that humility does not come from seeing how sinful we are, but rather it comes from how great grace is. Jesus, thank you for being grace incarnate. Your humility and grace are far greater than we will know in this life—but help us understand it just a little bit more. We are so arrogant and prideful, but thank you for pursuing us anyway—we do not deserve it at all, and that is what makes your love and grace so amazing. Help us be humble salt and light in a world dying from selfishness and pride. Holy Spirit, do not let us quench you in your quest to move us toward humility. Over come our fight against humility and give us joy-filled obedience to your Word. Thank you God for loving us enough to come and die for us. Amen.


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