At this time of year, I have always enjoyed refreshing my memory of the birth story of Jesus. One passage that started me thinking today about the humility of Jesus is Matt. 2:1-6 which says,
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”
After reading this, I was struck by what Benjamin Forman noted about this passage,
“The Messiah was not born in the ancient capital of the kingdom of Judah, the native residence of 19 Judahite kings, and the center of Israel’s religious worship. Instead, he was born in a small village five miles to the south.”
The choice of Jesus to be born in Bethlehem instead of Jerusalem is evidence that his whole life displayed humility instead of pride.
Seven observations about the life of our humble King:
Observation 1 – the location of the birth of our King was unassuming. It indeed was predicted in the Old Testament (Mic. 5:2), but it was not the location for the birth of royalty from a human perspective. If we were Jesus, we would have probably selected Jerusalem as our place of birth since all the famous kings ruled from there– but not Jesus.
Observation 2 – He was born to a poor family (Lk. 2:24). His family could not afford a lamb for their offering and gave a pair of turtledoves or pigeons indicating their lack of wealth. We not only would have selected Jerusalem as our place of birth but yes, we would have chosen a family of great wealth– but not Jesus.
Observation 3 – He was born in a place where animals lodged (Lk. 2:7)! This certainly does not seem fitting for a king! We would have selected plush accommodations appropriate for royalty– but, not Jesus.
Observation 4 – Jesus grew up in Nazareth, a place not known for anything good coming from it (Jn. 1:46). Where would we have picked to grow up? Certainly somewhere known for its elites– but not Jesus.
Observation 5 – How should a king interact with others? We assume that such a person of royalty should be treated in a special way– but not Jesus. He came to serve, not to be served (Mt. 20:28).
Observation 6 – We assume a great king should have a view of himself that displays his position— but, not Jesus. He was not full of pride but humble (Zech. 9:9; Phil. 2:4-8).
Observation 7 – A king often rules with power at the expense of others — but not Jesus. He suffered for you and me so that we might be saved (Is. 53).
In summary, our King is humble. He thinks and acts so differently than the way we do! What an amazing King! He truly is worthy of our praise and worship!
Father, thank you for who you are. You are humble and not caught up with what so often captures our thoughts, desires, and attention. Help me to live with your perspective on life and live humbly as modeled by Jesus. Thank you for sending your Son to live and die for me.