Humble King Jesus (Advent 11)

Jesus humbled himself, submitting to death on the cross

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)

Anyone who tries to assert that the Bible does not teach that Jesus is divine has a hard time getting around texts like this one. We’ve seen other examples already, but this one is particularly clear and bold: Jesus is “in the form of God”.

One of the main reasons why Christians are to be humble, is because Jesus Christ was humble. In fact, his humility is the greatest humility of all. Though he is God, he didn’t “count equality with God a thing to be grasped”, clung to, with the advantages kept all to himself, with no regard to those of lower esteem.

He humbled himself. He put that glory, that comfortable existence, aside, to take the form, not just of a human being, but the “form of a servant”. And he didn’t just get amongst the people, like a king going casual and chatting with his subjects in the pub. He didn’t just renounce his wealth and live a life of poverty in solidarity with his people. He submitted himself to dying… and not just dying, but dying by crucifixion… for our sake… to save us.

As Paul says elsewhere: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Knowing that our Saviour gave up so much, without complaint, for his people, should make us realise that Christianity is not about being superior. It’s not about being better than other people, not even morally superior. It’s not trying to do good works to buy God’s blessing. It’s about accepting the gift of something we couldn’t get for ourselves – the salvation of our souls. And it’s about not clinging to the material blessings that we have, putting ourselves out to help others, and to help to bring others into eternal life with us.

This is why Jesus wasn’t widely recognised by the Jews. He was too humble. They expected a leader, a glorious king. But they got a carpenter, from a little town, who’d didn’t have a proper home, who was laid in a cow’s food trough after birth, who rode on a donkey into Jerusalem, and who died under torture from the Romans.

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