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 emptied himself, by 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 ESV)
YOU'LL NEVER LOVE IF YOU PROTECT YOURSELF. – WEAPONS BY THE DAYLIGHTS
It seems naturally ingrained in me to protect what I love. And, judging from the view of my living room, I love me.
I live in a gated community. After punching in my security code, I quickly park my truck under a protective carport and leisurely stroll to my front door, unlock it, enter my domain, and lock the door behind me. This sense of security allows me to know the stuff I have “lovingly” acquired is safe.
And if these protective measures should be breached, I always have a failsafe: renter’s insurance. It is my sort of covenant with the stuff I have acquired for my kingdom.
Down Is Up
I suppose one could argue that I am sovereign over all that I own. It’s mine. I’m free to do with it as I will. At the moment any of it fails to serve my joy, it is discarded, replaced by product warranty or renter’s insurance should the manufacturer’s guarantee expire.
I’d like to think I’m a benevolent ruler over everything in my kingdom.
If this were true, however, instead of expelling the rebellious item from my presence by replacing it with its newer version, I would patiently endure its natural inclination to wear and tear. In love, I would go as far as to make accommodation for it by painstakingly restoring it to its former beauty prior to its current fallen condition. I would want to place it as a trophy of my grace, on display for everyone to marvel as to how I brought this dead instrument to the life for which it was created, something it could not do for itself.
I would want people to rejoice in its restoration. It would receive all of the admiration that is due me for it is a reflection of my love.
The King of Glory (Thieves)
There is one problem. This requires me to share my glory with what is mine, to stoop from my throne, embrace its broken nature, and restore it solely through my own effort.
I’m not wired to be that kind of king. Nor are you. The fall of man ensures this. We chose white-knuckled rebellion against God. We want our kingdom. Why? We must protect what we love most… self. We are glory thieves.
Sovereign rulers do not make accommodation for thieves. This is the nature of rebellion – glory thieving. All rebellion is crushed with swift, exact, and calculated military action.
Such decisions are made by a sovereign king, safely tucked away in the most protected and sought after treasure in the kingdom – the throne. After all, he who reigns from the throne rules the kingdom, and the king does not share his glory with another.
We should expect no less from God. We have earned it for our treason.
Yet, Jesus is altogether different than you and me. In the humiliating reality of Jesus becoming flesh, the glory of God’s grace is on full display.
Incarnation is absolute in its humiliation. Jesus left His kingly throne to seek and save the very thing He created, despite our continued rejection. He made all the accommodation on our behalf by embracing all of our futility.
Birth in a manger? Futility.
Betrayal by the very man you created, the very man whose feet you washed in humility? Futility.
The High King of Glory, born to die according to Isaiah 53? Futility.
Death on the torture stick of the Romans reserved for thieves? Futility.
Do not cease to marvel at this Advent truth: The High King of Heaven made a way for rebels who were far from Him to be drawn near to Him by dwelling with them as one of them.
The Daylights are correct. You and I would never have known love had Jesus protected Himself from us. Jesus is reckless with His love. This is humility on display.