Saturday, 12 December 2015

Daily Reading: Philippians 2v5-11 'Choosing nothingness'

I wonder have you remember ‘What not to wear’. It was a programme that in many ways captures one of societies big mantras – you should always look good. In the show two women help other deserving cases to look good. It’s not the only show to do so, and it’s what every clothes advert, every shopping catalogue, every shop window mannequin says – you must look good. How you look matters.

But do you see the contrast here? Here we have Jesus who was God humbling himself choosing to go from immortality and glory to bone, flesh, sinew, tendon, hair, and skin.  Image was not important, Jesus was distinctly ordinary. Do you see the wonder of that, God veiled to look like the man next door?

Have you ever wondered what Jesus rights were? (6) He was God by nature, equal with God, deserving of worship just as God is.  Revelation 4:6-11 gives us a glimpse into God’s throne room  “In the centre round the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and behind. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an Ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stopped saying:

“Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.”

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honour and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”

That is what Christ’s right was: worship, praise, adoration, glory. That was what he had experienced for eternity. But Christ humbled himself, he took off his glory and put on appearance as a man.

Can you imagine David Cameron driving through the street of London, he stops his driver, gets out, and swaps clothes with a young hungry, homeless lad. And as the car pulls away there is David Cameron left huddled under a blanket in worn rags sleeping rough on the streets of London.  Or, the Queen giving up the throne, Buckingham palace, the servants, the privilege to live as a refugee, in the camps in Darfur with all their squalor, disease, suffering and pain?  Or Bill Gates giving up his multi billion fortune, his business, homes, friends, privilege, to stand day after day, dressed in the same clothes, in the same queue at the soup kitchen in down town New York?  None of those is a patch on what Christ does. They are just tame, pale reflection yet we cannot imagine them doing it for an instant.

And anyway Tony Blair, the Queen, Bill Gates would all have a way out – they could just take out their passport and be whisked back to their previous station, or at the very least escape the drudgery and suffering.  But Christ could not. Christ did not. He comes down from heaven to earth, from immortality to mortality, from glory to anonymity. He became nothing, gave up all his rights and was “found in appearance as a man.”

Christ gave up heaven to become a man, but he wasn’t done there. That was just the beginning of where his humility would lead him to.  That ought to simple lead us to marvelled worship him for humbling himself for us.

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