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The Word on the Week

He Humbled Himself

The power of these three words written in St Paul’s hymn of praise in Philippians Chapter 2 verse 8 hits us afresh as we enter another Advent season. He was, and is, the eternal Christ, one with the Father who became what he was not i.e. man without ever ceasing to be what he always was i.e. God. The Word became flesh (St John chapter 1 verse 14).

The creator and sustainer of all that is, humbled him self, entered his universe put on eyes, ears, stomach, kneecaps etc. and took his place in history.

He could have chosen to be born into prosperity but preferred poverty. He could have chosen to be born in a palace but preferred a stable. He could have chosen to be born in a free country during a peaceful time instead he preferred an occupied land with the upheaval of a compulsory census.

He did all this that he might be a good teacher getting alongside his pupils, coming down to their level and teaching them using simple means. He identified with those who recognised their need of him. Those who recognised him as coming from God.

Strangely this was not the learned ones of his race. They rejected him.

It was in the eyes of his virgin mother that he was first recognised as “God my Saviour” (St Matthew chapter 1 verse 46) It fell to another woman, Elizabeth to recognise that the baby in Mary’s womb was her Lord (verse 43)

Indeed it was said the ordinary people heard him gladly. God was working out his purposes in a way that St Paul could write, “the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1 verse 21)

So what did St Paul preach that was seen by the learned ones as folly? It was the preaching of the complete humility of Christ bearing our sins on the cross that made folly the wisdom of the world.

Things have not changed very much since St Paul penned these words, “we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (verses 22/24)

The Philippian hymn of praise ends: –

He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Let us bear witness to the living Lord as we live by faith in him.