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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Down from His Glory

I will be preaching Sunday from Philippians 2:5–11. Those of you have a theological awareness of the doctrine of Christ, know this passage teaches the kenosis of Christ, His self-emptying. He did not cease to be God when He came to Earth, but He laid aside the independent exercise of His divine prerogatives and lived in full dependence on His Father. Ordinarily, His glory was veiled as He identified with human suffering, faced temptation, ministered in the power of the Spirit, and wrapped His love around our fallen human race. But, on one never-to-be-forgotten occasion, atop the Mount of Transfiguration, the glory of His deity burst through the clay lantern of His humanity. “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:2), and suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and talked with Him. Luke 9:31 reports they conversed with Jesus about His impending crucifixion, and both Gospels affirm Peter, James, and John witnessed the event.
Isn’t it startling to read about Jesus’ glory and deep humiliation in close association with each other? Yet, He had to be who He was—the eternal, sinless Son of God—to do what He did for us—die on the cross as a real human being and our perfect Substitute. He came to Earth to bring us everlasting life at the cost of His own life. “Christ died for our sins,” 1 Corinthians 15:3 proclaims.
We will see manger displays this Christmas, but let’s remember Jesus was born to die. During His earthly ministry, He told His disciples He had come to Earth to minister and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). And as I read Philippians 2:5, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus,” I ask myself whether I am willing to put the needs of others ahead of my own and serve them as Jesus did nearly 2,000 years ago—compassionately, selflessly, and sacrificially.

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