One of the highlights of my recent trip to the Middle East was to stand where Moses stood and overlook the Promised Land. Even through the haze and with a limited view, it’s an overwhelming and majestic sight both as a geographical scene and also as one of the most significant places in scripture. Away to the left of the panorama is the Dead Sea and River Jordan, the lowest point on earth. Here is where, hundreds of years after Moses, Jesus walked on earth.
John’s gospel opens with the poetic reminder that this Jesus, ‘the Word of God’, was with the Father in heaven from before time began. This Jesus was ‘with God in the beginning’, residing in the highest heavens, supremely involved in all that was subsequently created and carefully nurtured. This Jesus, who was miraculously born of a virgin, in the human form of a mere servant, belongs somewhere very different from the muck and grime and low points of our world.
And yet, as Philippians so wonderfully puts it, this Jesus, ‘who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be held onto, but made Himself nothing, taking the very form of a servant, being made in human likeness’. Stop and think about that for a moment. You’ve heard these scriptures many times but pause again and think about what that actually means. This Jesus willingly left His place at the Father’s right hand, in the highest of heights, and took Himself down to the lowest of low points on earth, ‘making Himself nothing’. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas time but what does it really mean?
It means that God so loved you and I and all the world that He gave His Son for us. It means that God proved His love to us by taking Jesus out of His rightful place in the Holy of Holies and sending Him to the depths of the lowest place and most humble position imaginable. Surely that means something wonderful and should inspire us to live differently, from those who despise Him, in response to all that this Jesus gave.
This Christmas, and every day, what can you and I do in response to a love that came down from the highest height to the lowest point for us and how can we show the love of the King of Kings to the lowest of the low?
God bless you and Happy Christmas to you all,