Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 5:2-11 (NASB)
The Incarnation gives us such a wonderfully glorious insight into the nature of God. It is often said in Reformed circles that God’s highest desire is to be glorified. Whilst this may be true – God is working in order to bring glory to Himself, for it is He who is to be exalted above the highest heavens – it is equally true that God is working all things for the good of His saints, and it is also very true that God is not a proud tyrant seeking fame, but is of a humble heart. We see this in the Incarnation.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God and God the Son, “emptied Himself.” He didn’t stop being God. No, that would have required Him to deny who He is, but what He did do was willingly leave the glory and unimaginable splendour of His heavenly home and come to be born as a babe, to average parents (for it was commonly supposed that Joseph was the father), in a strange town, in a place reserved for animals. Jesus took upon Himself all the frailties of humanity, yet was without sin.
As God, He could have called out to His Father at any time and have been immediately whisked back to heaven. Yet He did not do that. He remained on earth, first as a totally helpless baby, then as a child and then as an adult, until the time for His ministry had come. Then He taught, showed example and performed the miracles which showed He was, indeed, the Christ. Then, out of humble obedience, He suffered and died upon the Cross.
It is this humility of God the Son, who never sought glory for Himself but rather the glory of His Father, which we would do so well to learn from, as Philippians 2:5 directs us to do. How often we seek to gain some honour for ourselves! O how we want to shout out our rights and point out the faults of others. But this was not the way of Jesus. He sought not for His rights but the glory of God the Father and the good of His people. So, may we be like-minded this day in which we mark the Incarnation and throughout the year to come.
May God bless you all this Christmas!