By Todd Pekel


The fact that he humbled himself makes Jesus Christ all the more lovely. Have you ever taken a good look at one of those scenes depicting the birth of our Lord? Not exactly a suite at the Hilton or Holiday Inn, is it? As a matter of fact, there was no room at the inn when Jesus was born.

Luke 2:4-7:
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:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Imagine that! Jesus Christ, Son of the Highest, King of kings and Lord of lords, God Almighty in the flesh, took his first breaths in a manger, “because there was no room for them in the inn.” There were neither silk sheets nor physicians on hand. Neither heads of state nor special announcements on the global news channel. It was as if the world itself wanted nothing to do with the greatest gift that it has ever been given.

God took care of the special birth announcement, however, as he has his own way of making his things known.

Luke 2:8-12:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Notice that the announcement didn’t go out to princes or presidents, either kings or queens. Neither doctors nor those in academia heard the good news of the birth of a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. The announcement was made to shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

Luke 2:15-16:
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

There you have it. Joseph and Mary along with a couple simple shepherds and a few beasts of burden were witness to the Lord Jesus Christ the night he was born. Humble beginnings indeed! The Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ, began life on this earth in the humblest of fashion, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. A simple beginning witnessed by simple people.

2 Corinthians 11:3:
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Remember that the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety. Therefore, we are told what things we are to think on so as not to be corrupted away from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

In fact, not only are we told what things to think on, we are told the very mind we are to have.

Philippians 2:5-8:
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus Christ made himself of no reputation and took upon himself the form of a servant. He humbled himself. He, who knew no sin, became sin for us as he hung on the Cross so that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

2 Corinthians 5:21:
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Truly, there has never been a greater example of humility than the Lord Jesus Christ. Neither has there been, nor will there be, a greater distance traveled from one’s state of humbleness to one’s degree of exaltation.

Hebrews 2:9:
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

How fitting it is to see “the humbled one” as he whom God has “highly exalted” both now and forever.

Philippians 2:9-11:
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The exaltation of our Lord Jesus Christ came after he humbled himself. Thus, he set the pattern for us to follow.

James 4:10:
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

1 Peter 5:6:
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

“In due time” used to be a real problem for me. It seemed that my time and God’s time had been traveling at two different speeds. That’s before I really knew that it was God who was at work in me to will and do of his good pleasure, rather than me trying to convince God to bless my desires.

Philippians 2:13:
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Indeed, God resists the proud.

James 4:6:
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Conversely though, he gives grace to the humble.

1 Peter 5:5b:
... Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

As in our Lord’s example, the exaltation that follows is contingent upon the humbleness that precedes it. God resists the proud, but he will exalt the humble.

Matthew 23:12:
And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

It is the same Jesus who humbled himself that has been given a name above every name both now and forever. The humbled Christ is the exalted Christ; they are one and the same.

Hebrews 13:8:
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Therefore, let us be mindful of our Lord’s example. Let us humble ourselves with all humility and serve our Lord with a pure conscience. Unto him belongs glory both now and forever.

2 Peter 3:18b:
... to him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.



From the December 2000 issue of The Vine & Branches