“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
We celebrate Christmas as a holiday for giving gifts and seeing our friends and family. Some of us think of Christ at Christmas and celebrate His birth. We celebrate His gift of salvation that He gives to those who believe in Him. But let’s look at what it was really like for Christ to come to us here on earth that blessed night. Let’s look at a beautiful story written about what Christ left behind to come to earth and save us.
Leaving His Home…….
“It is time” Jesus took one last look around Him. The glories of Heaven surround Him. Behind Him was His throne. In front of Him were thousands of angels witnessing the most important time in history at its beginning. Oh, the beauty of this place! Light was everywhere. Peace reigned here as it should be, but this was not His home now. For the next thirty years or so, He would live on earth, where there was little beauty, little joy, little peace. It was time to leave Heaven and begin the process of becoming a man who would one day die for the creatures He had made Himself. With one last look, He left. There was a hush in Heaven as Jesus, the King of Kings, the creator of the universe, and mighty God, left.
Have you ever taken a moment to think about all that Jesus gave up for us when He came to earth? Imagine the glories of Heaven, the golden streets, the pearly gates, and the angelic music. Christ gave all of it up for us. He left the glories of Heaven, set aside His own glory, and came to earth to be born in a dark, dank, foul smelling stable. What a contrast and humbling experience for Christ.
The Kings first earthly bed was a feeding trough. How humbling that must have been! What love! Jesus gave up everything for us.
That’s the story in general, but now let’s really look at this miracle in more detail. Yes, Jesus left behind so many things to come into our world. Firstly, He voluntarily accepted the limitations of being a human being. Secondly, His glory was hidden from the people. Thirdly, He gave up the independent use of His relative attributes (all-knowing, all powerful, everywhere present, etc.).
Jesus experienced the limitations of a human being. Jesus is the eternal God who became human.
It tells us in the Bible “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
John also wrote, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
This tells us Jesus was still God while He was here upon the earth. However He took upon Himself an additional nature – that of being human. Jesus had a human body like other men except it was without sin. He did not set aside any of the attributes that were rightly His. He did, however, voluntarily limit Himself to being a human being. With His humanity came certain restrictions. He could only be at one place at a time. He needed to eat, rest, and sleep. He did feel pain, bleed, and die. Remember before He came to earth He had no such restrictions.
Jesus humbled Himself, the self-humbling of Jesus was not against His will. Yes, He willingly took on the limitations of humanity. He never used any of His divine attributes to relieve Himself of the limitations of all that being a human meant to Him.
The glory of Jesus was hidden from humanity during His time on the earth – although it was revealed at certain times. Why did He do this you might ask? The glory of God is such that no human could look at it and live! This is why Jesus veiled His glory to man. If you remember at the end of His life He prayed to His Father to restore His former glory.
It tells us in the Bible “I have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
And now O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
After His ascension His glory was no longer veiled. The Bible tells us in the Book of Revelation:
“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And he laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:”*(Revelation 1:17).
You can see why Jesus did not use His relative attributes here on earth.
Jesus chose not to independently exercise all of His relative attributes. This includes His ability to be all knowing and all-powerful. His moral attributes, such as love, holiness, and truth were not set-aside in any sense. He did not give up His perfect morality but He did give up any independent use of His mighty power.
Jesus chose rather to live the life as a servant who put His trust in His heavenly Father. The following statements from Jesus illustrate this truth.
“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19)
Jesus also said, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30)
Jesus said this too, “For I came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.”
Jesus chose to submit to the will of God the Father in every word and in every deed. Therefore, any independent desire on Jesus’ part to act apart from God the Father was emptied or laid aside while here upon the earth.
Jesus did not know certain things. The Bible does teach that there were certain things that Jesus did not know. For example, Jesus did not know the time of His Second Coming.
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in Heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
It shows us in the Bible Jesus did not know who from the crowd touched His clothes. “And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that virtue had gone out of Him, turned Him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto Him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And He looked round about to see her that had done this thing.” (Mark 5:30-32)
When He was here upon the earth Jesus was all knowing, or omniscient, yet He did not know the time of His Second Coming. Although He was all-powerful, or omnipotent, He prayed to God His Father to raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus, as God, was everywhere present, or omnipresent, but He could only be at one place at a time. These attributes were always with Him – He simply chose not to use them apart from the will of the Father.
Jesus was continuously self-limited.
The self-limitation of Jesus was something that He continually practiced. He had to consciously and continuously rely on the Father instead of His own divine attributes. Jesus Himself said. “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 11:41,42)
Jesus was always guided by The Holy Spirit.
As a human being, Jesus chose to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Scripture speaks of Jesus being filled with the Spirit after His baptism. “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,” (Luke 4:1)
Jesus performed His miracles by the power of The Holy Spirit. He said “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God is come unto you.”
He placed His faith in the Father. He was able to live a sinless life by trusting the Father at all times. Consequently believers are told to “walk as He walked.”
“He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” (1 John 2:6)
This could only be possible if Jesus walked in faith as a human being.
From all that Jesus went though He is able to understand our needs.
“For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Because He has experienced the same problems as humankind He can comfort us. The Bible says that God is the God of all comfort.
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;”
(2 Corinthians 1:3)
Finally we come to the reason why Jesus imposed these self-limitations upon His Person. He did it because of the love of God. “And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed Himself away, a multitude being in that place.” (John 5:13)
To sum all this up this Christmas Holy Day, here is what Jesus did and didn’t do when coming from Heaven to be with us as a human.
When Jesus came to earth He laid aside or emptied Himself of something. There are many misconceptions at to what He set aside. It was not His Deity. Jesus could not empty Himself of His Deity – He could not stop being God. He was and is always God the Son. He could not exchange His Deity for His humanity. Neither did He set aside only some of His divine attributes and keep others. In addition, Jesus always knew He was God and possessed these divine attributes – He was not ignorant of who He was or what He could do. Moreover Jesus allowed the people to know that He had such powers. Neither did Jesus set aside the use of His relative attributes such as being all-powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present. Those powers were always present with Him.
When Jesus became a human being He divested Himself of certain rights as God the Son. This can be seen in three ways. First, He restricted Himself to a human body with all its limitations. He gave up His position when He became a human being. Second, He veiled or hid His glory from the people. Finally, He exercised His relative attributes only by the will of God the Father – never on His own initiative.
Let us end this teaching with the words from Philippians 2:5-11.
5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus;
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
All glory to God
His humble servant Lee M Buchanan