“It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them,” wrote Mark Twain.
In heaven, Jesus had the deserved honor and glory of myriads of angelic hosts, yet he entered this world in the humblest of circumstances. No trumpets sounded that night in Bethlehem when God the Son took on flesh as a vulnerable baby.
Government officials from Jerusalem and Rome remained in their palaces while the King of Kings lay in a manger incognito as a helpless infant. Lowly shepherds attending their flocks in the field received this unexpected announcement from an angel: “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger,” (Luke 2:11-12).
Many people in the modern world have never seen a manger and might not know it’s an open trough from which animals eat. In John 1:10, we learn that the world was made through Jesus, yet he entered it like a camouflaged soldier slipping behind enemy lines under the cover of darkness.
The world doesn’t honor weakness. It rolls over it. The world honors power. The idea of an all powerful God humbling himself in birth and death goes against all our ideas for honor, power and success.
“God had faith in Jesus,” says Aliana, 9. “He let Jesus come down to the world to save us.”
Jesus didn’t come in power,” said Pastor Steven Furtick. “He came in diapers. This is a strange path to saving the world. Jesus came in weakness and died in weakness.”
God’s power mode turned the world’s power paradigm on its head, says Angelina, 9: “God is so powerful, but I think that power comes from love!”
We see power exercised from greed, envy, anger, pride and insecurity. The idea of exercising power from love is radical. This revolutionary idea is explained more fully in the Bible’s love chapter (I Corinthians 13).
“Heavy” or “weighty” is the root meaning of the word “honor” in the Old Testament. To honor someone means to grant that person weight, respect or even authority in one’s life.
Jesus focused on honoring his heavenly Father during his ministry. God the Father was so pleased that he couldn’t contain himself on two occasions.
At Jesus’ baptism, God spoke from heaven in a voice was heard on Earth when he said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” (Matthew 3:17).
Later in his ministry, Jesus took three of his disciples to a high mountain. There, the veil that concealed Jesus’ glory was removed for a few minutes. “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light,” wrote the Apostle Matthew (Matt. 17:2).
Again, God the Father couldn’t contain his pleasure when he repeated what he said at Jesus’ baptism with the added words, “Hear him.” Evidently, the apostles needed to pay closer attention to Jesus’ teaching and instructions. Don’t we all?
Think about this: After Jesus suffered the ultimate dishonor of being crucified as a common criminal to pay for our sins, God raised him from the dead. Today, the resurrected Jesus offers eternal life as a free gift to all who believe in him.
Memorize this truth: Luke 2:11-12 quoted above.
Ask this question: Will you honor Jesus by accepting the greatest Christmas gift, the gift of eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ as your savior?
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