This is the time of year that we think of Jesus as a baby in a manger. The picture for us is often sentimental. But we realize He is weak and powerless too. Yes, we know He was GOD in flesh. But that picture in our mind is far from one of the King of Kings, the Creator of the universe.
At this time of year, we tend much more toward the sentimental views of Jesus found in songs such as this:
The cattle are lowing
The poor Baby wakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes
There is no indication that Jesus’ childhood was anything but a normal one. He cried just like any other baby. He was a normal kid…but in his normalcy, He didn’t sin.
Yes, He was a baby, but He was also the King of Kings!
I was reminded today of the fact that the King of kings was born that day. In fact, the wisemen were looking for the King of the Jews when they went to Herod for information on the baby (who may have been close to 2 by the time they arrived.) They looked in Jerusalem where they expected a king to be born…at Herod’s palace.
While it is true that Jesus set aside many of His abilities while He was here on earth, and particularly while He was an infant, He must have had some awareness of His utter helplessness during that stage. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like!
We were talking about what it looks like to be under a king in our day and and age. As Americans, we are very unfamiliar with this whole concept. Autonomy is a big thing to us. We don’t want outsiders to come in, to tell us what to do. That is only a part of why we tend to cringe at the word submit. We all have to do it. We have to submit to government laws, to our bosses, to the limitations of our own abilities, to the limits our bodies have, and to the limits our spouses and families place on us, directly or indirectly. There is not a person who doesn’t have to submit to something or someone in their life. No one is truly autonomous.We were talking about what it looks like to be under a king in our day and and age. As Americans, we are very unfamiliar with this whole concept. Autonomy is a big thing to us. We don't want outsiders to come in, to tell us what to do. Click To Tweet
We need to allow the King of Kings to invade our autonomy more thoroughly
We Americans also admire the pioneering spirit that is independent of others and goes out, explores and conquers new land. Yes, it is hard work, but we can look at and say, “Look what I did with my own hands.” We don’t like to ask for help. For many of us, it is very difficult to have to admit we need it. Often it is humiliating to need it.
When you think of GOD, there is even submission there. Because in the Trinity, there is perfect and mutual submission of the Son to the Father and the Holy Spirit to Jesus along the lines of their roles. I don’t know how it all works. I just know that it does. How often did Jesus say when He was here on earth, “I do the will of my Father in heaven…” or words similar to it.
When we think of the Kingship of Jesus in our lives, it may help to think of His invading our personal autonomy. Autonomy is something we want…always. It is ingrained in us.
We each have our own ways of expressing our desire for autonomy…and repent of them.
From the 2 year old who is determined to have her own way instead of doing things you are teaching her to do, that may show in a tantrum to the teenager who wants to be happy now rather than thinking ahead to how it will affect her life in the future. To the young adult who has no desire to take on responsibility or commitment because of a desire to be free, independent…and autonomous. Never mind that he doesn’t have a way to make a living. Then you have the middle aged mom who leaves her marriage because she doesn’t feel fulfilled. She wants to be autonomous and thinks that shedding her spouse and maybe even her family, she will find the fulfillment she is looking for. And on it goes throughout our lives. We can think of all kinds of examples.Where does His rule and reign interfere with my autonomy? Where do I have to deal with the fact that He is GOD, not me? Click To Tweet
The important examples are the ones from our own lives, not those from the hypothetical lives of others. Where do we try to live autonomously, independent from GOD and His rule over us? They may be obvious to others, they may be very secret in our hearts. But as we think of the King of Kings coming to earth in human form this Christmas, invading our autonomy, how are we affected?
Where does His rule and reign interfere with my autonomy? Where do I have to deal with the fact that He is GOD, not me? What step am I going to make today to give my autonomy over to the One who knows how to deal with it in the best possible way?
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 emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:5-8 ESV
To the King of the ages,
immortal, invisible, the only God,
be honor and glory forever and ever.
I Timothy 1:17 ESV
***Thanks to Will Spink, my pastor. It’s not the first time his sermon has helped my thinking for my blog. I had started it, but the sermon helped me collect my thoughts and make sense of them.