2021 Christmas Advent Day 17: The Meek King visits His people
- Main Passage: Luke 2:1-7
- And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed (a census). (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger (feeding trough); because there was no room for them in the inn.
- Luke 2:7 (in bold) is perhaps the most outrageous verse in the entire Bible. Think of all the majestic title given to Jesus that we have gone over, all of the glories contained therein, the beauty of them, the excellency of them, of Jesus. He is Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, The Word, The Messenger of the Covenant, The Eternal God, The Creator of All Things, The Fountain of Life, The Light of The World, The Heir of All Creation, The Firstborn of God, The Redeemer, The Bright and Morning Star, The Sun of Righteousness, The Sunrise from On High, The King of David, The Messiah, The Christ of Almighty God. This is who is being born, this is who came into the world. The one for whom no man-made word could ever fully express; the one to whom all power in heaven and in hell bow and tremble in the presence of; the one who holds the universe together by the word of His power. This One has come, and He has come to be born into a feeding trough for animals.
- Our King did not come with pageantry or charades of any kind. He came in humility, in meekness. Even the glorious temple of Solomon, which cost billions upon billions of dollars to build, which was lavish almost beyond comprehension, was not fit for God. Solomon admitted, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” [1 Kings 8:27] And God Himself says the same thing in Isaiah: “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD…” [Isaiah 66:1-2a] If Solomon’s temple was not fit for Christ, how much less a feeding trough for dirty animals? God is the one who “fill[s] heaven and earth;” [Jeremiah 23:24] and who “dwell[s] in the high and holy place.” [Isaiah 57:15] The LORD is “high above all the earth,” “high above all nations, and his glory [is] above the heavens,” and “all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing” in His sight. [Psalms 97:9; 113:4, Daniel 4:35] The LORD is set apart and high, and Jesus, as we have already seen, was and is no different but existed in perfect equality and union with The Father. Imagine how humiliating, how meek, how low Jesus stepped down. The God who must “humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth” [Psalms 113:6] became flesh, being born into a feeding trough. Philippians says that Jesus, “who being in the form of God, thought not equality with God a thing to be clung to: but emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” [Philippians 2:6-7] And in another place Paul says, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” [2 Corinthians 8:9] Jesus truly humbled Himself to a fantastic degree; He emptied Himself completely, and stepped down from heaven into poverty. What an awesome God we have who would love us so much to do this!
Questions for Day 17
- If the container for dirty animals to feed in can be used to contain Almighty God, certainly He can indwell us. And what a magnificent picture that is. That Christ dwells within us. That feeding trough was sanctified, not by anything but the very presence of God in the form of man: Jesus Christ. He dwells within each of us, unbecoming feeding troughs fit for the consumption of base pleasures, animal pleasures of the flesh, but He transforms us, sanctifies us, and calls us temples. Seeing such things are true, what ought we to do with our bodies and lives?
- Jesus humbled Himself very, very greatly. It is a glorious thing to contemplate. How ought Jesus’ humility influence us?
- Reflect: If God could lower Himself so greatly, then we should as well. Philippians says that we are to have the same mind that Jesus did when He stepped down from heaven in to earth and became a man. Too often we think ourselves beyond other men; too often we are proud and self righteous: thinking ourselves to be some great one. Too often we look down upon the poor, the maimed, the crippled, the diseased, when in fact Jesus did the exact opposite. Let us not look at ourselves and sorrow; let us look at Christ’s humility and follow Him, for the joy of The LORD is our strength.