Sunday, December 21, 2008

"mild he lays his glory by"

"[Jesus], being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
and being found in appearance as a human being,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."
(philippians 2:6-11 tniv)

most days i am content enough with our life the way it is now. some days? not so much. our move to chicago meant giving up a regular teaching gig, several leadership positions and the status that a great circle of friends gives you. of course i try not to dwell on the sacrifice too much but i have my days.

any "sacrifice" i have made pales in comparison to the kind of sacrifice Jesus made. by leaving heaven, Jesus gave up his position in heaven, the recognition he deserved (isaiah 53.2-4), the glory and beauty of his surroundings and the close fellowship with God the Father. wow.

as if that weren't enough, he faced a squalid life on earth only to end with a humiliating and excruciating death. how did he do it? i know i couldn't do it. philippians tells us that Jesus did it because he was God. God's plan from the beginning of time was for Jesus to do this, so when the time came, he did what he was supposed to do.

the result was even greater glory than he previously had. and now we get to share in his glory ourselves. in fact, we have a responsibility to share in his glory by carrying on his work. we can sing all the more joyfully about Jesus putting aside his own glory because we now get to participate in his glory. and we can look forward to the day that every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.

"if the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! for what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. and if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

"therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. we are not like moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. but their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. it has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. even to this day when moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. but whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. and we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."

(2 corinthians 3.9-18)

for the kids: let them talk about how they feel when it is their birthdays. do they like being the center of attention? what is it that makes them feel special? then talk to them about how they feel when it is someone else's birthday. is it hard not to be the center of attention and not to get presents? talk to them about what it meant for Jesus to leave the place where he was special to come to earth where he was a regular guy like the rest of us. what happened as a result? for a project, i think this is the right time to make a cross. part of Jesus putting aside his glory was accepting the death on a cross. formerly a sign of humiliation, now it is a symbol of the moment of greatest glory for Christ.

No comments: