By Brooke Holt
“And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’” (Luke 23:33–38)
I don’t know about you, but I like to win. Right now, I love playing pickleball. While I play for fun and exercise, I also play to win whenever possible. And it is not just me—everyone on the court is competitive. Why is that? There is something within all of us that longs to prove our worth, value, and success. Everyone longs to feel significant in this world, and that often leads us to pride, performance, and competition.
Jesus modeled a different way, the way of humility. Paul writes, “though he was in the form of God, [Jesus] 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 2:6–8). Just consider the birth of Jesus. He came as a helpless baby born in a manger, a most humble place for a king to be born. The death of Jesus was not any more noble. He took humility to a new level as he died the most painful and humiliating death a person could die.
While hanging on the cross, Jesus’s garments were divided, he was scoffed at by those around him, and his very identity as the Son of God was ridiculed. On the cross, Jesus received the penalty for the total sin and depravity of man. Jesus Christ, the only one worthy of honor, glory, and worship, was stripped, beaten, and publicly humiliated. And Jesus allowed it all to happen. Before his betrayal and arrest, Jesus told his disciples, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:17–18).
Jesus was not an unwilling victim of sin; instead, Jesus laid down his life all the way to the cross. He gave up his rights, his glory, his garments, and his very life so that we might have the gift of salvation. If the Son of God demonstrated such humility, what does he expect of those who follow him? The cross of Christ proves that humility comes before honor (Proverbs 18:12) and loss is gain (Philippians 3:7–8). Sometimes losing is the means to true victory!
As you ponder this divine humility demonstrated by Jesus, how does the Holy Spirit prompt you to follow his example? What does it look like for you to surrender pride and the desire to prove yourself through performance and competition? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Awaken the awe and the wonder of Advent! “The King Is Coming” is a 4-week Advent devotional especially written with a child’s heart in mind. It takes families through the salvation story by focusing on who God is, the gift of Jesus, and the importance of celebrating and sharing that miraculous gift! Bring your family together this Advent season for a journey exploring God’s big love for you.
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