Monday, December 23, 2013

What Child is This?

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11

As I contemplate Christmas this week, and spurred on by some recent sermons at church, I've been thinking about the incarnation and about the child, born a King to die.

It really is a glorious truth that is hard to fully wrap my mind around - that the King of the Universe would leave His majestic throne to come to earth and live as a man, and then humbly obey His Father even to the point of death on a cross in order to take the sins of the world upon His body.

This, this is Christ the King! Jesus is God - and while He was here on earth, He was fully man as well. He is equal to God - the exact representation of Him, as the writer of Hebrews tells us.

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. Hebrews 1:3

No wonder the shepherds guard and angels sing! This is Christ the King!

May favorite verse of this carol is the second one which reminds us of this great truth - Jesus, the Word made flesh, bore the cross for me and you.

Although Jesus is God, the Scriptures tell us that He did not use His position for selfish advantage. Instead, as the passage from Philippians (above) tells us, He emptied Himself. This doesn't mean that He emptied Himself of His deity - quite the contrary! He didn't subtract His deity but He ADDED humanity. And he never stopped giving of Himself even to the point of emptying Himself.

And He did it for you and me, so that through His emptiness - through His poverty - we would become rich!

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 through His poverty might become rich. II Corinthians 8:9

He did this through the incarnation - by becoming a man He then gave His life so that we would have life.

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28

Nails and spear shall pierce Him through. Jesus was a man - his flesh could be speared - and when it was, blood and water flowed out to prove that He was dead.

But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. John 19:34

He bore the cross for me and you.

And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. I Peter 2:24

By His wounds, you are healed! Through Jesus' obedience on the cross, God canceled the decree of debt against us.

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14

The King of Kings salvation brings!

For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. I Thessalonians 5:9-10

This King of Kings, born as a baby, entered the world through a human mother and was laid to rest in a manger. He humbled Himself from the very beginning! But His serving and giving continued through His whole life. That's why Paul admonishes us to "have the same attitude."

As you enjoy Christmas this week, think about the King of Kings, born a baby, who humbled Himself for you and for me. And then meditate on what it means for you to "have the same attitude" and let the Holy Spirit work in you that you may become more and more like Jesus.

What Child is This?
Words by William Dix

What child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The babe, the son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The babe, the son of Mary.

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