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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Face to Face With The Man of No Reputation...

This is an excerpt from some of what I'll be speaking about this weekend in Alabama, at the church of my dear friends Cindy and Dave Lewis...

Philippians 2:7 tells us about Jesus taking on the form of a human. It tells us how he relinquished His Heavenly form, (without relinquishing His holiness and deity of course) and wrapped Himself in human flesh. The KJV says "He became a man of no reputation". The NIV reads "He made himself nothing". The words are stunning. Jesus, the very son of God, willingly chose to leave the throne of Heaven and come to earth and become one of us. And He did it in such ignoble fashion. He truly made Himself nothing. As my dear friend Rick has said "He was born in a barn, and he died on a trash heap with spit running down his face...and I call Him Lord". He was undesirable and unlovely. He probably looked nothing like Jim Caviezel. What can we glean from this truth? What truth about our Savior can we extract from this fundamental fact...that Jesus came here and willingly made Himself nothing.
First of all He didn't have to do it that way. It was God's plan for Jesus to be born to a poor, unwed, teenage Jewish girl. He could have just walked into the scene at age 33 and started preaching in the temple. They could have done all the same things to him. He could have been born into a wealthy family, maybe come from better stock. As long as it was someone in David's family the prophecies would have been fulfilled. He could have allowed himself the luxury of owning a house instead of having "Nowhere to lay His head". But he didn't.
He chose to be lonely, hungry, poor, often tired, misunderstood, badgered, heckled, slandered, attacked by the religious zealots, falsely accused, tempted, isolated, betrayed, rejected, sorrowful, broken hearted, and frustrated with the progress of his closest friends toward their ultimate goal. He obeyed His Father even when it hurt. Why did He do all those things? Why were those descriptives accurate about his life? Why did He come here and live for 33 years in a lifestyle completely opposed to what He left behind in Heaven? Feeling our pain and touching our weaknesses had nothing to do with salvation. That required a sinless sacrifice and nothing more. That was the part only He could do. So why did He choose to actually be born here, grow up here, live here, minister here, (again...healing the sick was not required for our salvation...) and be brutally murdered here? And why did He stay here for three days and come back to life here and then go home to heaven?
My guess...because he knew our hearts. He knew how easily we might accept salvation, yet still allow fear to keep us away from Him. He didn't save us from a distance...He saved us from ourselves...because He became one of us. There are a lot more people in this world who fit the description of Jesus' life I just laid out. There are a vast majority of beaten bedraggled, homeless, accused, lonely, sad, sorrowful, burdened, betrayed people who need desperately to see a God who doesn't just save them out of angry, begrudging condescension. They need to see a God who adores them so much that He would pursue them through history and travel from one dimension to another and actually become one of them, while still being Him, and feel all those hurts and wounds and pains and emotions. Because He knew that mankind would create an image of an angry, resentful, never-pleased God who the average Joe would be afraid of. So He smashed that image and showed them instead, a poor, lowly, sorrowful, servant, who had been betrayed, ridiculed, misunderstood, and even homeless. They could approach that Savior. They could look into the eyes of a man who had been where they are now...and they could believe Him when he said "my yoke is easy and my burden is light"
He became nothing, because all of us nothings needed him to be easily approachable. He bested all our expectations and one-upped all our dreams. And now He waits for us all...come as you are...

1 comment:

Dave Lewis said...

Powerful words "He became one of us!" Looking forward to the messages on Sunday.