Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas Meditation on Luke 1:13-14 & Hebrews 2:7

Christmas is first and foremost a season for worship. 
Luke 1:13-14
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
The angels are glorifying God for the fact that he has sent His Son into the world. This is ‘good news’ that is to be announced to the peoples (Luke 2:10). The announcement of who Jesus is comes in 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

They give praise to God because this is the marvelous plan through which he had determined to save the world. Scripture tells us that he made this determination to save a people freely by his own will before the foundation of the world itself. 

The angels are giving glory to God because God has sent his Son into the world, born of a woman. Jesus came “in the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4). The whole of human history centered on this moment--a little baby born in the manger.

Consider the greatness of the child and the greatness of God’s plan that he should be announced by angels. Not only this, angels rejoice and give glory to God for this marvelous moment to which they are attendant. 

Because the Son of God has come down out of heaven, the heavenly hosts which are gather under the throne of God have now come down to announce the birth of the king. In the Old Testament, the heavenly hosts gather around the throne and give praise to God (1 Kings 22:19; Ps. 103:21; 148:2). And so we find them visiting the Shepherds so that the shepherds might know that the LORD has come. Immanuel, ‘God with us,’ is here.

God is displaying his glory but entering his creation in the most humble of means. Jesus, the heir of the world, comes as little baby. He is God the Son and the angels praise him and worship him. 
Hebrews 1:6 “And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.””

The Mystery of Christmas is that the Angels Worship One Made Lower than Them.

The great mystery of the universe that is a cause for marvel and wonder is that God the Son who deserves all worship, should take on the lowly state of a human being. Philippians 2 tells us that although he existed in the form of God and was equal with God, he took on form of a servant and humbled himself. He emptied Himself meaning He made himself nothing. He suddenly has no wondrous appearance. He stepped down from His throne in heaven.
Isaiah 53:2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 
In his humanity, he came in a humbled and humiliated state. Is rank and majesty was so low that in his human nature, he ranked below the angels.
Hebrews 2:6 It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? 7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, 

In the context, Hebrews is focusing on the exaltation of Jesus. That Jesus is raised back of and ascends to the right hand of the Father. He is King over the creation. Ruling as a true human being--although he is equal God. 

The point is that he could never reign as a human being if he did not first come as a servant in lowly estate. This exaltation could not happen if Christ did not first come in utter humiliation, a humiliation that culminated on the Cross. To be the Son of David, it is was crucial that Christ come in total meekness, lowliness, his status is ignoble, he is of no account or reputation. It is this lowly state the we first see Jesus in while he is in the manager. 

His state is so low that the Son of God who created the angels and is to be worship by the angels, in his human form he has a rank lower than all the angels. So while he never stops being God and worthy of all worship, when he enters creation and takes on full humanity, he gets a human rank: utter lowliness.

The angels give glory to God because the one who is worthy of worship does not claim rank for Himself by self-exaltation but takes on abject servanthood, ignobility, weakness, lowliness so that he might be the suffering servant who defeats death by dying.

This is the way of our God. This is a cause for marvel and worship of the Mighty King. That the mighty King who was worthy of all glory did not use that to His own advantage. He did not take up the rights due him--rather he took on humility. He, as to his human nature, took on lowly rank.

We forever stand in awe that the one to whom the angels bowed, should stoop so low as to willing assume rank lower than the angels themselves so that God would save the world and raise us the Son in exaltation. Jesus gave up the glory of heaven so that we might one day join him as sons and heirs of the glory and riches of the age to come.

As the angels give glory to God, Christ--the glorious Son of God--is nestled in the manger with a rank lower then the angels whom he made and who forever rightly worship Him. This is the mystery of Christmas. 

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