“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”Philippians 2:5-11(NKJV)
At this time of year, we often think about Jesus coming to earth in the form of a helpless baby, but do we really consider the implications of Jesus humbling himself by coming to earth? Think about it. Jesus left all the glory & splendor of heaven and the worshipping heavenly hosts to come and live among us. He gave up His omnipresence to live in a human body confined by time, space, and geography. He gave up the perfections of heaven to live in a body that was subject to hunger, pain, and discomfort. I can imagine that, upon occasion, Jesus suffered the pain of hitting his thumb with a hammer or stubbing his toe on a rock. When Jesus fed the five thousand, have we ever considered that Jesus himself was hungry? When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, have we ever thought about how thirsty Jesus must have been? And after a long day of ministering to the physical needs of hundreds of people, have we ever considered how tired Jesus must have been? Or after seeing how the religious leaders of his day despised Him and His teachings, have we ever considered the degree to which Jesus felt the pain of being misunderstood and rejected? And let us not forget the emotional pain that Jesus felt when his earthly father Joseph, his cousin John the Baptist, and his friend Lazarus died.
Dr. David Jeremiah recently did a teaching a series about the Nativity, has listed several reasons why Jesus came to live among us. We often think about the obvious reasons – to fulfill the Old Testament prophesies and to save us from our sins. But do we consider that He also came so that he could fully understand what it means to be human, to experience human emotions and to empathize with our weaknesses? The writer of Hebrews brings out this point:
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
I don’t know about you, but these verses bring me great comfort! When I feel discouraged, I can remember that Jesus also felt that way from time-to-time. When I feel alone, I can remember that there were times when Jesus also felt the pain of isolation. When I am tempted, I can remember that Jesus also faced temptation, although of course He never yielded to those temptations. Isn’t it comforting to know that whatever we are going through, we can bring those cares to the One who understands our struggles (I Peter 5:7), knowing that He has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). And there is nothing that can ever separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). Now that is truly Good News!