Tag Archives: christ

day 19: nothing

Philippians 2:5-11

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of aservant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself bybecoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  ThereforeGod hashighly exalted him and bestowed on himthe name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ isLord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:5-11

Jesus “made himself nothing.”  that phrase jumped out at me.

how could someone make themselves nothing?  obviously, jesus wasn’t nothing.  He was an actual historical person.  He was something, in fact the very “form” of God himself – not form in the sense of outward appearance (which would be the greek word “morphosis”) but form in the sense of the very nature or essence (“morphe”, which is the greek word used here).   the word for “a thing to be grasped”, “harpagmos”, can have the meaning of “a prize” to hold, which makes sense given the context of what He was.  So at the very least He was God before becoming a man.

so did he cease to be God when he made himself nothing…or when He became the essence of a servant, born in human likeness?  there has been much debate over this passage.   the word for “nothing” used here is the greek word “kenoo” meaning “to empty.”  it seems a word that means that whatever the case it involved choice and action.  the context teaches us a lot of what it may mean for Him to have made Himself nothing. 1) if we read what came before this section, Paul had described how we ought to live – how we ought to imitate Christ…giving us a clue to what this “emptying” would look like.  v.3 says “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but inhumility count others more significant than yourselves.”  it is not that we/Christ are/is nothing, but that we “count”, or consider, others as more important.  as i’ve learned from luke 9:23 it looks like disregarding our own personal interests for the sake of another.  laying ourselves and our egos down.  2) if we read the section after v. 7 we see that Jesus’ act of humility and pure obedience paradoxically made Him great.  for some reason i’ve read this passage in the past as: he humbled himself…SO God exalted Him.  but that is not what it says…it says “therefore”…which gives a reason…not necessarily sequence.  this makes sense in the sayings of Jesus that those who are least ARE the greatest…not will be.  Everyone…myself…and satan himself…wanted to reach for greatness…which is what makes us not God.  Jesus laid down his greatness…which points to the fact He is God.

although He rules everything He made himself nothing…for us.  this makes Him everything to me.

if God himself, who is everything important and good, laid down Himself….how much more should we, who derive our very existence from Him, lay down our own lives?  Especially when Jesus and Paul remind us to follow His example.  How can i make myself nothing, consider others as more significant, this day?

thank you Lord that you made yourself nothing for us

day 7: refugee

Hosea 11:1-12; Matthew 2:13-15

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them.” – Hosea 11:1-3

“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod.This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet,’Out of Egypt I called my son.'” – Matthew 2:13-15

there were two sons. both were loved by the Father and both became refugees to escape death as children. one would go back so the other wouldn’t have to.

one was rescued from Egypt to Israel but did not recognize his Faithful Father who had delivered him and continually loved him. another was rescued from Israel to Egypt, recognized His Faithful Father who delivered him and continually loved him. the son that continually walks away from God the Father is us, especially those who have already met the Father. the Son whose heart is one with the Father is Jesus. Our Father, out of love, sent His Faithful Son to rescue his unfaithful sons.

in what ways has He delivered us, in what ways has He been our refuge, and in what way has He faithfully loved us…even when we haven’t?

thank you Lord that you are our eternal refuge.

day 6: birthplace

Micah 5:1-5; Matthew 2:1-6

“‘But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.’ Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel. And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD,
In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. .” – Micah 5:2, 4a (NASB)

“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 willshepherd my people Israel.'” – Matthew 2:4-6

once again we find the savior and salvation coming from the most unexpected place – from the place where the smallest clan of judah lived, a place almost “too little to be among the clans”, and somehow from a time before he is born.  what does this tell us about Him…about God?  that God recognizes and honors the small, the least…that this child somehow comes from or existed before he was born into the world…who else but God could?  we didn’t expect God to come from such a humble place, we didn’t expect a man to come from eternity. yet Jesus was both and was from both.

how and in what ways do we overlook God in places we don’t think much of?  how can we open up to Him in the midst of an overlooked or unexpected place?

thank you Lord that you are found in unexpected places.

day 5: presence

Isaiah 7:10-17; Matthew 1:22-25

‘Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.’ But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.’ And he[Isaiah] said, ‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.'” – Isaiah 7:11-14

“‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).  When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.”- Matthew 1:23-24

God will bring about the impossible: a young woman would conceive a child without having had sexual intercourse.  God the Father’s favor would be over young mary, God the Spirit would enable her to be with child, and she would carry God the Son in her womb.  all of this so that each of us could experience “God with us.”  Jesus would come into a world that didn’t believe, even like king ahaz who didn’t trust in God, and into a world that would have killed Him even before He was born because people thought he was a bastard of a seemingly unfaithful wife.  even when we didn’t believe or couldn’t conceive of Him, He is born into our world and He is with us.

do we believe He is present with us, even when it seems impossible for Him to be?

thank you Lord that you are with us.

day 3: roots

THE READINGS FOR DAY 3:

Genesis 12:1-3; 2 Samuel 7:1-17; Matthew 1:1-17

VERSES SELECTED FROM EACH:

“Nowthe LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” – Genesis 12:1-2

“Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel.  And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.'” – 2 Samuel 7:8-9

“So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon tothe Christ fourteen generations.” – Matthew 1:17

SOME THOUGHTS:

His plan is so EPIC.  He is always doing so much more than we can see…from generations past, in our generation, to generations that will follow us.  these men did not see the greatness promised in the days they walked this earth.  but these men became great in an even greater story of a man who left His greatness to save…us.  it is amazing to remember that God Himself stepped into our world of HIStory through the lineage of humankind…a very sordid line in fact (full of liars, deceivers, prostitutes, adulterers, murderers, and outcasts to name a few).  From the most unexpected places and people He brings greatness…good news: Jesus…a carpenter from a dusty little town…the savior of all humankind.  it is amazing that He would not only save us but unite Himself to us.  amazing that He makes such extraordinary promises to ordinary men that will simply trust Him.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION/APPLICATION:

even when we don’t see it now, do we believe He is a God who is working out something GREAT?  Will we trust Him, even in the ordinary, and be a part of the extraordinary that He is doing?

BREATH PRAYER (a very short prayer we can say through out the day):

thank you Lord that you make the ordinary extraordinary

day 2: falling short

THE READINGS FOR DAY 2:

Genesis 3; Matthew 1:21

A VERSE SELECTED FROM EACH:

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” – Genesis 3:8

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21

SOME THOUGHTS:

our parents before us fell short.  we fall short.  this is the original hebrew meaning of “sin”: to miss the mark, a term from archery as in not hitting the target.  we thought that when we did our own thing we’d be better off, but we found ourselves in over our heads…we had now opened the door to go the way of death…we now had something to hide…we were ashamed.  we often feel shame when we fall short.  we don’t want anyone to see us as we are now.  when we are naked we are now vulnerable.  sin breaks the relationship…it causes distance.  it wasn’t supposed to be this way.  it doesn’t have to be this way…now that God has pursued us and made a Way again for us to come back to Him…through His own Son.  His Son would put sin to death by dying for ours.  in hebrew Jesus (Y’eshua) means “the Lord saves.”

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION/APPLICATION:

in what ways are we hiding from the presence of God?  are we clinging to things that lead to death rather than be revealed or are we letting him save us from what is destroying us?

BREATH PRAYER (a very short prayer we can say through out the day):

(breathe in) thank you Lord (breath out) that you save

day 1: creation

AN INTRODUCTION TO THIS 25 DAY SERIES:

A friend on my intern team suggested we do advent readings, a tradition of preparing people’s hearts for the Christ in Christmas. So, I thought I would record the passages as well as some brief meditations for the next 25 days (well 22 now), and hope others will join in as well (feel free to share your thoughts and reflections!)…that we would really take in the undeserved gift of His life.

THE READINGS FOR DAY 1:

1: Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3

A VERSE SELECTED FROM EACH:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
-Genesis 1:1 (all verse references from ESV in this series, unless otherwise stated)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
-John 1:1

SOME THOUGHTS:

It is so easy to lose sight of the beginning in the midst of the now…that there was something/someone of significance that preceded us…that it’s not all about us. It’s a fact we can’t escape but one that we forget routinely.  He made EVERYTHING. He precedes everything. There is nothing too big for Him or beyond Him.  He is the creator, the originator…the source of all.  He is the ultimate authority.  With a word He spoke and it was.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION/APPLICATION:

Do I live my daily life in the understanding that He precedes all things and has ultimate control of all things?  Do I believe His Word has the authority over heaven and earth?

BREATH PRAYER (a very short prayer we can say through out the day):

(breathe in) thank you Lord (breathe out) that you are Creator…that you are before all things.

***for reference here are the passages for all 25 days till Christmas.

1: Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3
2: Genesis 3; Matthew 1:21
3: Genesis 12:1-3; 2 Samuel 7:1-17; Matthew 1:1-17
4: Genesis 22:1-14; John 1:29-37
5: Isaiah 7:10-17; Matthew 1:22-25
6: Micah 5:1-5; Matthew 2:13-15
7: Hosea 11:1-12; Matthew 2:13-15
8: Jeremiah 31:15-34; Matthew 2:16-23
9: 1 Samuel 2:1-10; Psalm 18:2; Luke 1:67-69
10: Psalm 106:1-12; Luke 1:70-75
11: Isaiah 63:8-9; Luke 2:1-20
12: Isaiah 42:1-8, 49:1-6; Luke 2:25-32
13: Isaiah 9:1-7; John 1:4-5
14: Isaiah 11:1-9; John 1:14; John 8:12
15: Exodus 40:34-38; 2 Chronicles 7:1-3; John 1:14
16: Isaiah 40:10-11; Ezekiel 34:23-24; John 10:11-18
17: Zechariah 3:8, 6:12-13; John 15:1-8
18: John 1:18; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:1-4
19: Philippians 2:5-11
20: Genesis 3:15; Galatians 4:4; 1 John 3:8
21: Genesis 12:3; Galatians 3:16
22: Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 1:1; Revelation 22:16-21
23: Psalm 72:10-15; Matthew 2:1-11
24: Isaiah 9:1-7; Luke 1:79
25: Psalm 24:7-10; Luke 2:1-14