Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jesus – Humble God

Christ Born of Mary

Matthew 1   (Humble mom)
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

[His mother humbled by the embarrassment of being an unwed mother.]

21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23
the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,"[d] which is translated, "God with us."

[Isaiah 7:14 is quoted here. I read something where a man claimed Jesus was not the messiah because his name was Jesus not Immanuel. Well I looked at the Hebrew text to understand what it was saying "Call his name" spoke of making something known or calling attention to it. "Immanuel" actually had two words Immanuel and El, meaning "God, God with us". So the virgin Mary giving birth was to be a sign to make known to us that Jesus was "God with us". Clearly God was humbled to take on the form of a man. John said it like this:

John 1 (Humble form)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

So John clearly proclaims Jesus is the eternal God of creation, becoming a man, for the purpose of dwelling with us. So Jesus was Immanuel "God with us". But there is more to His name as we have discussed before. The English name Jesus, or the Greek word Iesous is the same as the Hebrew name Yeshua or Yehoshua. Yeshua Contracts the tetra gram for God's name YHWH with the word for salvation, to make a name meaning the Lord's Salvation. YHWH is the transliteration of the 4 Hebrew letters, some pronounce it Yaweh. The English transliteration is JHVH which some pronounce Jehovah. But the Rabbis' considered God's name to be so Holy that they would not even say it, they would substitute the word Addoni meaning Lord. So YHWH is in the Hebrew text about 6,800 times but The King James Bible only translates that as Jehovah 7 times, most of the time it just says Lord

So Jesus, took on the humble form of a man to become, the Lord's salvation.]

Luke 2 (Humble guests in a humble location)

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold,[b] an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
       14 " Glory to God in the highest,
      And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"[c]
[Shepherds were not very well regarded in social settings, because they lived out in the fields with the flock. Sheep are not the smartest animals so they have to be protected from predators. They also graze differently than cattle in that they will stay in the same spot eating everything down to the bare earth if you let them so the shepherds have to move the sheep every day otherwise they destroy the vegetation by overgrazing. When Joseph invited his family to live in Egypt he warned them not to tell Pharaoh that they were shepherds, because Egyptians did not like shepherds. When Samuel came to the house of Jesse to anoint the next Kind of Israel, Jesse brought in all his sons except David in because he was the shepherd. So shepherds were the humblest of workers, not much to look at or smell, but they were invited by the angels of heaven to come see the Christ child.]

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[d] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

[The shepherds didn't seem to mind that the savior was to be found in an animal crib. It also seems humble guests make great witnesses. They didn't care if people thought they were crazy, they told everyone they met what happened that night.]

Skip down to Luke 2 verse 22.

Jesus Presented in the Temple (Humble offering)

22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD"),[f]
24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."[g]

[In the Law a woman bearing a son was unclean to worship for 40 days. Then she was to bring a sacrifice to the temple according Leviticus 12.

Leviticus 12

6 'When the days of her purification are fulfilled, whether for a son or a daughter, she shall bring to the priest a lamb of the first year as a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove as a sin offering, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 7 Then he shall offer it before the LORD, and make atonement for her. And she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who has borne a male or a female.
8 'And if she is not able to bring a lamb, then she may bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons—one as a burnt offering and the other as a sin offering.

[When Mary and Joseph went to the temple after 40 days they did not bring a lamb as a burnt offering and a dove or pigeon as a sin offering. They brought two birds. This was the humble offering of a poor family. Verse 8 says "if she is not able to bring a lamb", then her offering could be two birds, one for a burnt offering and one for a sin offering. This is also evidence that the Magi were never in the nativity scene, as the gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh, could easily have provided enough money for a lamb. So the wise men found them back at home, as Matthew 2 records, and it was after this that Joseph was warned by an angel in a dream to flee to Egypt, because Herod was going to kill all the young male children born in Bethlehem, two years old and under, to prevent any new King from growing up. Some believe the gifts of the Magi provided the money they needed to live in Egypt for a year or two, until Herod the Great was dead, and they could return home.]

I know it's hard to see such a familiar story in a new way, but I just wanted to illustrate the humility of our Lord, in the Christmas story. Jesus was:

  • Born to a humble mother
  • Taking on the humble form of a man
  • Born is the most humble location (an animal crib)
  • Visited by humble shepherds
  • Presented with a humble offering

So much of religion tries to make man look majestic with clothing, alters, shrines and temples, that would be good enough for God. But in Jesus, the Lord's salvation, we see God becoming humble enough to redeem sinful man.

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