“I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.” – Isaiah 50:6
A few years back, I remember hearing a Christmas song on the radio whose lyrics
went something like this:
Jesus, if we had only known who you were, we would’ve made room in the palace
If we had only known who you were, we would have dressed you in the finest linens
If we had only known who you were, we would have laid you in a royal resting place
If we had only known who you were.
And while I can certainly appreciate the sentiment behind wanting to give God our very best, that song made me wonder – do we understand that God could have had any of those things?
That he in fact chose a stable over a palace?
Swaddling clothes over the finest linens?
A manger (feeding trough) over a royal resting place?
In a world so concerned with acquiring and maintaining and exercising power over others, our God showed up in vulnerability. He emptied himself of his position (Philippians 2), not because he didn’t have other options! Our God chose that.
Jesus continued to choose the way of vulnerability throughout his earthly life; being from Nazareth, eating with tax collectors & sinners, washing his disciples feet – the King of Kings and Lord of Lords chose all of that.
And finally, at the cross, Jesus chose that too. As the passage from Isaiah 50 points toward, Jesus offered his life up willingly, choosing the vulnerable way of shame and pain and public execution on a cross.
As we experience the Advent season, let’s look for those places of vulnerability, of powerlessness, maybe even finding ourselves there. And may we encounter our God, who still chooses to be there too, in a fresh and challenging way
King of kings and Lord of lords, thank you for being the kind of God you are.
Thank you for turning the tables on power and showing us what self-giving love is all about. And thank you for the new life that is found in your life. In your matchless name we pray, Amen.
~ Marc deJeu