How do we respond when our rights are repressed, or we’re mistreated? Jesus’ own birth in a humble manger offers a resounding example of giving up one’s rights for others. Pastor Lutzer notices Jesus’ unique posture towards His divine attributes. This innocent, vulnerable baby was on an unstoppable mission—for us.
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us again today as I speak on the topic of “The Baby That Changed the World.” A number of years ago, before Christmas, a clergyman was interviewed on national television and was asked this question: “What’s so special about Christmas?” And he said, “It’s all about a baby.” “A baby.” He said, “Everybody loves a baby. That’s why we like Christmas so much. It’s because of the baby.” Well, of course, he was right. It is because of the baby but what a baby and what an opportunity he could have had to say that the baby came on a specific mission to save us from our sins. What a baby!
I’m looking at the text of scripture in Philippians 2. It’s one of the most remarkable passages that the apostle Paul wrote about Jesus. It’s a passage that has been studied for many years. Whole books have been written on this text. Paul says these words: he says, “Let each of you also look not only on yourselves but also on the things of others.” And then he says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men, being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God exalted him.” What I want us to do is to understand here that the Apostle Paul is giving the people in Philippi an example of humility. He’s saying think of where Jesus came from: heaven. Think of who he was: He was in the form of God. The very essence of God. Yet he did not think it was something that needed to be grasped or held onto. The scripture says he humbled himself. As a matter of fact the Greek text actually says he “emptied himself.” So theologians have discussed what that means. It certainly doesn’t mean that Jesus Christ no longer had the attributes of God or else he wouldn’t have continued to be God. What it means is this, Jesus said even though I have all the attributes of God I’m not going to depend upon those attributes as I live my life as a man. Look at Jesus there on the well, weary with his journey. Think of him on the cross — “I thirst.” Think of his agony as he is persecuted and put to death. In that sense, Jesus said I’m living as a man. At a moment I could do whatever I liked. I could depend upon those attributes as God and I could vanquish all of my enemies instantly but I’m going to endure hardship as a man.
I want you to grasp this: Jesus came from the glories of heaven that we can scarcely imagine. He did not hang onto all of those blessings, so to speak. He was willing to humble Himself and become obedient unto death in the likeness of sinful flesh. It doesn’t mean that He wasn’t human. Of course He was. He was human without sin. And he did all that for us.
There’s so much more that I could say but I want to leave us with a thought today that we need to take with us. Jesus was fully God. He was fully God. He was not just, you know, vying for the job or applying for the job of being God. He was God. But he humbled Himself. He said I am going to give up my rights for the sake of humanity, and he came here, despised, rejected, shouted at, cursed at, and he was willing to endure that for us. That’s really what Christmas is all about and then the text says, as Paul introduces this passage, “Have the same mind in you as was in Christ.” How do you know if you’re a servant? Well, the answer is how you respond when you’re treated like one. Let us today be servants of others, to not hang onto our rights until our knuckles turn white but to give ourselves up for the cause of Christ, for the cause of the gospel, and for the cause of the baby that changed the world.
Join us again next time because we’re going to pick up the text and tell others — tell the world about what happened as a result of that humiliation. But as for today, give God glory for the coming of Jesus, and walk with God.