Utter Humility

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!

2:1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register. 

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” 

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. (Luke 2:1-16)

Israel had been waiting for generations for her Messiah. Those who were educated in the prophesies of old had largely concluded that he would be a great military leader — and most were sure he would come and liberate Israel from their bondage to Rome. But their conclusions were not quite on target. He would indeed be great — the Son of God. He would indeed bring liberation — but from Satan and their sinful condition. He did not come in power and might (it would be given later), but in humility.

The Messiah was born in a barn — his parents could not even find a room in an inn on the night of his birth. The Messiah was wrapped in miscellaneous cloths — he was not prepared in royal garments. The Messiah slept those first nights in a manger, a sheep’s trough — not a comfortable crib. From the very beginning, the Messiah arrived and lived in the deepest humility.

Jesus was born in a barn. Jesus slept in a manger. Jesus grew up in the home of a carpenter. Jesus would die on a rough hewn cross — the death of a criminal. From beginning to end, the Messiah’s life identified with the lowliest and the outcasts. Although Jesus knew the glory and majesty of being God, he voluntarily took on all the limitations of humanity so that he could humbly live, serve and substitute for us all.

When have you been rejected? When have you been some kind of outcast? Disliked? For today, consider that there is nothing in your life — no matter how humiliating or how evil — that Jesus has not endured for your sake.

You can watch the Sunday message again here.