The Humility Of Jesus

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Part Seven - The Humility of Jesus Christ

 

One would think that if God was going to give a Gift of love it would be attractive and marvelous. A gift that would stand out from all other gifts ever given. For example we might consider the gift of lasting world peace, the gift health and wealth to all or the gift of continual happiness. This is what we might expect from the God Who is Creator and Sovereign Ruler of the Universe. For Him to do this would be no big thing for He is able to do this and so much more with the mere utterance of a few words. However, God’s greatest gift of love was a baby born to poor parents who had to stay in an animal stable for lodging. Not a very impressive gift for One so great and mighty. However this gift was the greatest gift ever given. What people do not realize is that the degree of love that goes into a gift is not measured by how attractive or how marvelous the gift may appear, but rather on how much the giver has gone through to provide the gift. This is demonstrated when the Apostle Paul writes, 

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:5-9)

Christ, Who as God, had all the divine attributes and powers of the triune Godhead. However, even though He was equal in these areas to the Father and the Holy Spirit, yet He knew to become a man He would have to lay the use of these things aside for a while. These things were important to our Lord, but not more important than the salvation of man. The English translation “did not consider it robbery to equal with God” is a poor rendering and should read “did not consider equality something to be held on too.” In other words Christ laid aside His equality for a time in order to become a human being.

This is what makes the gift of God so precious. It was a huge sacrifice on the part of our Lord to become a man and ultimately the Savior of the world. We can not put into words how great this sacrifice was when He laid aside the use of all His powerful attributes. It is impossible for our finite human minds to totally fathom.

However, let me give you a possible illustration to help you understand the degree of this sacrifice. Lets say you were ask to give up your humanity in order to become an ant. That would be a huge sacrifice to give up all that you are able to do in order to become an insignificant insect. Yet this is exactly what our Lord did only to an infinitely greater degree. He went from being Creator to being the Creation and during the time He spent on this earth, He did all things through the power of the Holy Spirit not His own.

To add this humbling sacrifice, he came not just to be a man, but even more humbling, to be the servant of all of mankind. The Creator and Sovereign God came to serve all of mankind. To use our earlier illustration, it is like us not only becoming an ant, but doing so that we might serve all the ants and in the long run die for them. How difficult this must have been to go from caring for the Universe to having to be feed and cared for by human parents. This is what made the Gift of God so precious.

I have a couple of favorite Christmas stories I would to share to illustrate the sacrifice of this Gift even better.

“The story is told of "a U.S. Army officer who was stationed in Japan following WW II.. when Japan's economic life was in shambles and the Japanese were willing to work at whatever they could find. The officer's wife hired a local Japanese gardener, an elderly man who spoke no English. So, through an interpreter the officer's wife patiently told him how she wanted the various flowers planted, pruned, sprayed, and pampered. He listened politely and intently and followed here instructions-to a point. The garden emerged as the finest on the block, and the officer's wife felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Then one day the gardener announced apologetically that he was leaving; He was returning to his old job. The officer's wife expressed her regret and praised him for following her instructions and making such a fine garden. Out of politeness, she asked him what his old job was. His answer: Professor of Horticulture at the University of Tokyo! Just so Jesus laid aside His crown and came to earth to a crib" to serve mankind.”

“The Christmas Story of the Man and the Birds. Now the man to whom I'm going to introduce you was not a scrooge, he was a kind, decent, mostly good man. Generous to his family, upright in his dealings with other men. But he just didn't believe all that incarnation stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmas Time. It just didn't make sense and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn't swallow the Jesus Story, about God coming to Earth as a man. "I'm truly sorry to distress you," he told his wife, "but I'm not going with you to church this Christmas Eve." He said he'd feel like a hypocrite. That he'd much rather just stay at home, but that he would wait up for them. And so he stayed and they went to the midnight service.

Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier and then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound. Then another, and then another. Sort of a thump or a thud. At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window. But when he went to the front door to investigate he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They'd been caught in the storm and, in a desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his large landscape window.

Well, he couldn't let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so he remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter, if he could direct the birds to it. Quickly he put on a coat, galoshes, tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light, but the birds did not come in. He figured food would entice them in. So he hurried back to the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail to the yellow-lighted wide open doorway of the stable. But to his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms. Instead, they scattered in every direction, except into the warm, lighted barn.

And then, he realized, that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me. That I am not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how? Because any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow. They would not be led or shooed because they feared him. "If only I could be a bird," he thought to himself, "and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to safe, warm ...to the safe warm barn. But I would have to be one of them so they could see, and hear and understand."

At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sounds of the wind. And he stood there listening to the bells - Adeste Fidelis - listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. And he sank to his knees in the snow.”

At the time of Christmas, the story of Jesus’ birth is told over and over and even those who know not the Lord as their Savior know of this account. However, not aware of the great value of this gift, they pass it over for something that appears to be a better gift such as holiday spirit, celebrations, material gifts, decorations and etc. In doing so they miss the real meaning of this season, the real meaning of what it means to know Christ and have eternal life. Let me share one more story to illustrate my point. 

The Extra Electric Train by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson. “Though money didn't flow as freely as the rain that winter, my parents worked with joyful anticipation to give my brother and me a Christmas present we would never forget. They scrimped for months and then spent more than they could probably afford for a Marx electric train.

Then the day before Christmas, a cousin stationed at a nearby military base pulled into the driveway. Opening the trunk of his car he lifted out a large heavy box. My brother and I could hardly wait to see what it was. On Christmas morning we opened it first. Eagerly we unwrapped an expensive new electric train set. Wow! You had to pull us down off the ceiling. A Lionel train, too! Then we opened the presents from our parents--another electric train. Ho hum. And not nearly as extravagant as the one from our cousin. Guess whose we played with most?

Mom and Dad were hurt. The outlay for an unmarried Air Force lieutenant was nothing compared to the sacrifice my parents had made. But all we saw was the glamour of an expensive train. We counted our parents' gift as merely a nice accessory.

Our heavenly Father spends many a disappointing Christmas. Amidst the glittering ornaments and flashing Christmas lights, the hurry and hustle of shopping and wrapping and family get-togethers, parties and presents, trees and turkeys--who really cares about His gift? What gets more attention from us: our Father's gift of life in Jesus Christ or the quickly-wrapped department store gifts from our cousins?

Thank you, Father, for Jesus. Thank you for the abundant life that we, His disciples, can enjoy now. Thank you for sending us a most expensive gift--your own life. Thank you!