THE HUMILITY OF JESUS
Luke 2:1-16; Philippians 2:5-11 Princeton Christian Church December 25, 2022
Jesus came to be among all peoples, from the lowest to the highest.
What comes to mind when you think about a King or someone who is part of a royal line? Most of us, I believe, would think of luxury, power, and arrogance.
If you look at countries that have royalty in existence today, I suspect we would apply those terms of luxury, power, and arrogance to them.
Jesus came as a king, but those descriptions of royalty are in direct opposition to Jesus. Jesus is the picture of what we call humility.
According to the dictionary the word humble means three things: not proud or haughty; reflecting, expressing, or offering in a spirit of deference or submission, and ranking low in a hierarchy or scale; not costly or luxurious.
Kings are typically surrounded by servants and others who ensure they are taken care of. In those who live in the service of a king, their life is all about the King by keeping him happy, comfortable, and taken care of.
Whenever there is a “royal” birth, the birth is promoted and covered by the media. In recent times we have been exposed to the marriages and births of the children and grandchildren of Queen Elizabeth in England, those children are born into a life of luxury, and they quickly learn and expect that the world is supposed to revolve around them.
Now, as we have said before and know without a doubt that that is a contrast to the birth of Jesus, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords.
We might think that if God were to send His son, that son would be born into a luxury unsurpassed by anyone. We would think this child would have the best of everything, that there would never be a day that saw hunger, fear, or struggle. But that, of course, is not the case with the birth of Jesus.
Why do you suppose that there is such a contrast between the birth of the Savior of the World versus a typical birth of an earthly king?
One reason is that each of them has a different mission in life. We must remember - God was the King of Israel in the Old Testament.
God led the people into battle; He took care of them. Once we get into the book of 1 Samuel, the people start to grumble. When they entered the battlefield, the people of Israel saw their opponent enter the battle with a great-looking King on a Big horse with all the trappings. The opposing King was a remarkable sight. Even though God would give the people victory, the nation craved an impressive king to lead them into battle.
Samuel was angered when the people demanded such a king. God told Samuel in 1 Samuel 8 to listen to the people's voice, but I want you to warn them of the cost of a king. Samuel went to the people and told them what God had said about the cost of being a king. More or less, everyone would be the servant of the King. Earthly kings come to be served; Jesus came to serve! And that is a significant difference!
So, today we are going to examine the humility of Jesus. That which makes Him a different kind of royalty and ruler.
We will be looking at the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2 verses 1-20 as well as in Philippians 2:5-11. Now, you may ask, how does the story of Christ’s coming show up in a letter from Paul to the church at Philippi? The greater message is that Jesus came to be to all peoples –from the lowest to the highest. Jesus came to SERVE, not to be served.
READ Luke 2:1–7
The first thing we notice about this birth is it humble setting in which it happened.
Reading the story of the birth of Jesus, we can see it as an event that is amazing and unheard of. The birth of Jesus should be one of the factors which help us to know that the Bible is God’s inspired word.
Think about this, if you were going to make up a story about a god sending forth his son to earth, would you have made the setting as humble as the setting was for Jesus’ birth?
Caesar Augustus called for a census for taxes for the empire. Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth when the census was called. The decree was that people should go to their birthplace to be registered. Part of the reason was taxation.
For Mary, this would be a difficult trip because of the distance and her state of pregnancy at the time of the decree. As the crow flies, the distance between Nazareth and Bethlehem is roughly 70 miles. In reality, the trip is closer to 90 miles.
If Joseph and Mary traveled eight hours a day and 2.5 miles per hour, they may have travelled about 20 miles per day, The trip would take 5-7 days for them to complete.
The trip is long and hard, but Joseph and Mary finally arrive in Bethlehem.
If we were making that trip today, we would pull out our cell phones and call the local hotel and make a reservation for a room. They could not book a room on their cell phone app. they were taking the trip hoping they would have a place to stay once they arrived. Have you ever done that? Drove into a city, without a reservation for a hotel room? A disappointing time when you have to go searching for a room wherever it can be found.
Where would you expect the son of God to be born? Once Joseph and Mary got to town, the inn had no vacancies. But the owner offered them a humble stable where they might spend the night.
Jesus would enter the earth in a stable, not on fine sheets, but on a bed of straw. When you think about it, it does make sense, then, that the very first bed Jesus ever slept in was just as humble as He is.
Nowadays, parents go to great lengths to make sure the crib their baby lays in is the best possible. It has to be just the right color, size, and brand.
But Mary and Joseph did not have that luxury. They only had a manger to put Jesus in.
A recent article in a publication called Compelling Truthnotes says this: “Jesus’ first bed, was an indicator of His nature and purpose. Rather than coming to earth amidst fanfare and in plush surroundings, the King of Creation and God’s own Son was born among animals, with his very first visitors being lowly shepherds from the fields.”
The setting for the birth of Jesus could not have been humbler. The creator of heaven and earth, was born in a stable, His first bed was a feeding trough.
Why is this significant for us today? Why is it important for us to know of Jesus’ humble beginnings.?
We should never make people feel like we are too good to associate with them, and we should never make them feel that they are too bad for God to redeem through Jesus!
Jesus died for anyone and everyone; regardless of race, economic class, or any other line of division or class we have set up.
Anyone can repent, be baptized into Christ, and become part of His family. Once that happens, we are called to follow and live for Him.
NO ONE should be off our list or determined in our minds as not acceptable to God. We should, as Jesus does, try to reach all peoples with the gospel!
Here we find the humble audience surrounding the birth of Jesus.
Whenever someone of significance is born, the announcements go out, the coverage begins, and the people of the appropriate social class visit and offer well wishes.
If a King and Queen had a child, not just anyone could visit the hospital. Most likely, none of us here today would get an invite to see the child. The lowest people in society would not get an invite, either.
But --- Who does God send the birth announcement to? To the shepherds!
God did not send the angels to the rich and influential; He did not send word to the world's leaders or religious leaders. We might think that God would have sent the angels to the religious leaders.
The Jews have waited for generations for just this moment to come – the coming of their Messiah. Yet, when He had arrived, who did God use to make the announcement?
Jesus would come, not to the proud and powerful, but to the outcasts, the humble, those considered "last" on the social lists.
God brought the first news of his Son's arrival to these men. Shepherds were not viewed favorably in Jesus' day. The religious authorities despised them.
In this humility, Jesus is showing his purpose for coming to earth. In Luke 2:12, the angel tells the shepherds that the manger will be a sign to them to show them where the Messiah is: He is among them!
The God of the universe has humbled himself to dwell among the people.
In an article on Christianity.com, titled “What Is the Meaning and Significance of the Manger?” Dave Jenkins explains: “Jesus, being born in a manger, highlights that there is no place that bars the way for the Lord. All of this reveals how accessible and available Jesus is to sinners.
The King of Kings and the Lord of lords came humbly, and His first bed was a manger.” “The Good Shepherd would first make His bed among the sheep.”
The saving God who made His tent with Israel in the wilderness now made His tent in the flesh, and His name is Immanuel, God with us.”
You do not have to be in the elite “upper crust” to have an audience with Jesus!
Now, let’s go to the Philippians passage I mentioned at the beginning, READ
III. It is here we find the description of the humble King.
Jesus is the ultimate example of humility, the spirit of submission, and willingness to be ranked among the lowest in society, forgoing the luxuries of the wealthy.
Jesus’ humility was expressed most when He became a man and died on the cross. He never insisted on His rights and privileges to be honored, understood, or viewed rightly, but he emptied Himself of His reputation.
As a side note, good leaders always look for ways to help those around them grow. Poor leaders throw around the weight of their authority to remind people just who is in charge. If anyone had the right to throw around their authority, it would be Jesus!
Jesus did not go around telling people to bow down to Him because He was the Son of God; instead, Jesus came to seek and serve. Contrast that with the religious leaders who were constantly throwing around their authority, always seeking the limelight.
Verses 5-8 tell us about the attitude Jesus had.
He was equal with God, but for the good of mankind, He emptied Himself of all His glory to come and die for us. His humility led to obedience! Humility comes through serving others. As long as we look out for number one, we will struggle with humility.
Verse 8 reminds us that Jesus humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even the humiliation of death on a cross! What did God do for Jesus?
GOD HIGHLY EXALTED HIM! God gave Him the name that is above all names! At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord!
We should never attempt to exalt ourselves and let God do that when it is time!
CONCLUSION: Because Jesus humbled Himself, we cannot proclaim the gospel without being humble! Everything about Jesus was humble! In what ways can you emulate Jesus’s humility this Christmas season?