Have you ever imagined yourself in Jesus’ shoes?
Christmas is a time that focuses on the most ‘human’ aspect of Christ. I don’t know if I will ever fully wrap my head around God becoming a man, much less coming the natural way as a baby born of a woman.
Every year, I tell my wife that we can’t listen to Christmas music until Thanksgiving. I have a not-so-secret love for Christmas hymns, so we usually don’t make it past Halloween before we listen to our first Christmas music.
This year the Lord is gripping my heart with the song What Child is This? The line, ‘This, this is Christ the King’ has my attention in a peculiar way. It has caused me to again contemplate the humanity of Jesus and I have thought about it in a different way recently.
Take a moment and imagine if Jesus were born among us today.
Most of us would see Jesus’ mother, Mary, as an engaged teenager with an unwanted pregnancy (I’m not saying this is the full reality of the situation. Mary treasured in her heart what the angel spoke concerning Jesus: Luke 2:19). Jesus was born into a mixed family. He had half-brothers and was, by today’s understanding, the adopted son of a man who was not Jesus’ biological father. He was the eldest child of a poor working-class family that lived in a small town out in the country. We might have called him a hick or a redneck if He were born today.
Let’s go further into His life story. Jesus was raised in a rural, traditional Jewish family, and probably had little education outside of the religious context. He lived at home until His thirties and didn’t have a wife or girlfriend. When He started His ministry, Jesus was homeless and perceived by many to be religious fanatic with a following consisting mostly of society’s rejects. There was a peculiar authority on His life that made religious leaders fear for their ‘sheep’ and the government suspicious of possible ulterior motives.
Our Lord’s ministry continued for less than four years. Most of His followers turned away from Him on the eve of HIs death. Jesus was betrayed by one of His closest friends, called a blasphemer by the religious elite, and then put to death for treason.
This, this is Christ the King.
I know the story breaks down pretty quick when we try to imagine Jesus living today. However, I doubt the major circumstances of Jesus’ life would be much different in our generation. Is this the kind of man you would follow and love with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength? All of the things said about Jesus during His life over 2,000 years ago, or by the prophets before Him, would still be said today. As we read in Isaiah 53: “We esteemed Him not…”
From the virgin’s womb to the criminal’s cross, it perplexes me that God would choose this life as the one by which He would save the world. I guess that’s why it says ‘His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts’.
However, one thing is for certain. I will never be able to look at Jesus and say that He doesn’t understand. God put Himself in our shoes and owned it. He learned obedience through the things that He suffered and He became our salvation.
God, who had absolutely nothing to prove to us, chose to experience painful obedience from the perspective of our own flesh. He didn’t come to us wealthy and privileged. Jesus came to us in a poor and humble condition.
Everything about the man Jesus reveals a more humble approach to life and faithfulness than I would ever choose for myself. I am thankful that I have had someone to lead the way!
When I think about Jesus’ humanity I am appalled at how many times in my life I have actually fought against the meekness of Christ. It is almost as though I have tried to be better than Jesus to keep up a certain appearance or live my life a certain way. Jesus didn’t care what it looked like and many were offended by Him. I don’t want to care anymore either, I just want to learn obedience.
This year, reflecting on Christmas has become as much confessional as celebration. I am okay with this.
The meekness of Christ was poured out as God lived the life of a man. Let us celebrate Him! Truly, He showed us love, obedience, and meekness, and this is what being human is really about.
– J. S. Marek