Copyright 2003 by Robert H. Kreger. All rights reserved. Anyone may reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

C H R I S T M A S

The Humility of Jesus Christ

Luke 1:1-7;
Vs 1: In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

Decree - Skeptics have claimed that no such decree was ever recorded by the Roman or Greek historians, and it had been believed and taught by many that the Bible was in error. But manuscripts found in recent centuries confirm this decree by Caesar Augustus. The Bible was right and the skeptics wrong. As usual.

Caesar Augustus - Ruled Rome from 27 BC to 14 AD.

A census should be taken - This census was the basis for taxation.

Vs 2: (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

Vs 3: And everyone went to his own town to register.

In other words, everyone had to return to their birthplace where all the records were kept. Today it would be similar to returning to the county or town where you were born to obtain a copy of your birth certificate.

Vs 4: So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

He belonged to the house and line of David - Joseph was a descendant of David.

Vs 5: He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

Mary - The Greek literally has "MARIAM." She was also from Bethlehem and was also a descendant of David.

Who was pledged to be married to him - The marriage between Joseph and Mary had been arranged for many years. But at this time they were married, otherwise they could not have traveled together.

Vs 6: While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,

Vs 7: And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

She wrapped him in cloths - This is the aorist active indictive of the verb SPARGANOO. It means "to wrap in bandages, to be swathed in bandages." Luke is the only one of the Gospel writers who uses this word. Other Greek writers like Euripides, Aristotle, Hippocrates and Plutarch used this word in reference to medical works. SPARGANOO and SPARGANOMAI refers to wrapping or swathing a SPARGAMA, and a SPARGAMA was a word in the ancient Greek to refer to a mangled corpse. So the first clothing that was used to cover the baby Jesus was cloth that was intended for a dead body. Burial clothing.

And placed him in a manger - The Greek word for "manger" is PHATNE meaning "manger or feeding trough." Many times the feeding trough was under the open sky. After His birth Mary laid Him in a feeding trough. The place where animals would come to eat.

Because there was no room for them in the inn - The Greek word for "inn" is KATALUMA meaning "a lodging, an inn." In the time this was written an inn was not a hotel or motel with rooms to rent. It was simply a place where travelers might camp overnight. It may be in a Bedouin tent, or a guest room in someone's home in the village. Wherever it was guests would have to provide their own food, cooking utensils, and other provisions. There might or might not be an innkeeper. With all of the places occupied in Bethlehem because of the census, Mary and Joseph decided to camp out where the animals were bedded down. Sometimes it was a corral with a half shelter around it, and sometimes it was a cave. The Bible does not tell us exactly what kind of shelter was found for the birth of Jesus. But it does tell us that Jesus was born where the animals were bedded down for the night.

Summary Principles

1. Jesus' baby clothing represented a picture of death. He came for the purpose of dying for the sins of the entire human race.

2. He was born among the animals. Animals that would be possible sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem.

3. He was laid in a manger or feeding trough. The King of kings came to this earth in one of the most humble ways possible. Not to a palace or to a simple home, but to a barn, and placed in a feeding trough where the animals ate.

4. The First Advent of Jesus Christ is called "His Humiliation," which refers to His earthly life in contrast to His preexistent state and His future exaltation.

John 3:13 Jesus said, "No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven-the Son of Man."
John 6:62 Jesus said, "What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!"
John 16:28 Jesus said, "I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father."
John 17:5 Jesus said, "And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."

6. In complete harmony with our Lord's teachings and His earthly history came the teachings of the apostles concerning the humility of Jesus Christ.
In Philippians 2:8 Paul said, "He humbled Himself." The Greek word for "humbled" is the aorist active indicative of the verb TAPEINOO meaning "humility of the mind, humble thinking, modest."

II Corinthians 8:9, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich (the God of all creation), yet for your sakes he became poor (took upon Himself the form of a man), so that you through his poverty might become rich." In other words, through His humanity which was made a little lower than the angels He would go to the Cross and bear the sins of the entire human race and offer a perfect sacrifice, which provides a perfect salvation, which provides riches beyond measure.

Hebrews 2:8-9, In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. (9) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death (death was the ultimate humility, but after His death He was raised with a glorified physical body and ascended to heaven and was seated at the highest place of honor and glory at the right hand of God the Father), so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (He not only tasted physical death but He tasted substitutionary spiritual death for everyone.) (10) In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect (complete) through suffering." In other words, because of what Jesus did: by leaving the realms of heaven and taking the form of man and living a perfect life in an imperfect world, and being tortured and crucified and judged for all the sins of mankind. God the Father "made Him complete." He was welcomed back into the fold of the Trinity as He was in eternity past, only now He retains His human form.

Revelation 1:18, "I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."

According to these and many other passages the humiliation of Christ began with His incarnation (in Bethlehem on that first Christmas Day), culminated in His death upon the Cross, and came to its end in His resurrection, ascension and session at the right hand of God the Father.

7. We have heard the phrase, "Grace comes before judgment." The First Advent of Jesus Christ marked the beginning of that grace before judgment.

8. That same grace continues today and will continue until the Second Advent when judgment will be administered. That is why many have called the age we are living in "the age of grace."

9. Therefore, during the First Advent and continuing on into the Church Age, the message of God to man is simply "believe." Believe in Jesus Christ and that will remove you from judgment. "There is now no judgment to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:1). Belief in Jesus Christ has always been the means of salvation in every dispensation, but after His First Advent the grace of God has been revealed in a way it has never been before.

10. During this age of grace, known as the Church Age, the humility of Jesus Christ is still being manifested to the world. He said in John 12:47, "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it." He was referring to His First Advent. The objective of our Lord's First Advent was to judge sin, not men. Therefore, in His humility as a human being and as God, He was not here to judge mankind. The entire focus of our Lord's First Advent was providing for the salvation of mankind, and He did that through His humility. And He admonishes all of His followers to walk in His footsteps, the footsteps of humility.

Matthew 18:1-4;

Vs 1: At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?'

Vs 2: He called a little child and had him stand among them.

Vs 3: And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Vs 4: Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'

Humbles - This is the future active indicative of the verb TAPEINOO meaning "humility of the mind, humble thinking," which is the opposite of arrogant thinking.

Summary Principles

1. The child is held up by Jesus as the ideal, not because of innocence or purity or faith, but because of humility and unconcern for social status. The disciples were interested in their social status, that was why they asked the question, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

2. Jesus is teaching the humility of the mind, the humility of thinking, not childishness of thought. And with such humility comes childlike trust.

In I Corinthians 13:11 Paul is using the principle of childish thinking to teach a principle concerning spiritual gifts, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." In this passage Paul is speaking of spiritual gifts and calling the spiritual gifts of tongues and miracles childish things. But when he became a man he put those inferior things behind him and moved on to perfection or completion by focusing on the completed canon of Scripture.

In I Cor 13:11 Paul is speaking about the childish thinking of children, but in Matthew 18 Jesus is referring to the "humble" thinking of children.

Matthew 20:25-28;

Vs 25: Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.

Vs 26: Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.

Servant - Nominative singular of the noun DIAKONOS meaning "an attendant, a servant, a minister, a deacon, one who renders service to another."

Vs 27: And whoever wants to be first must be your slave -

Slave - Nominative singular of the noun DOULOS meaning "a slave, subservient, slave or servant of various degrees, one pledged or bound to serve."

Vs 28: just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Mark 9:33-35;

Vs 33: They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, 'What were you arguing about on the road?'

Vs 34: But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

Vs 35: Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."

First - Nominative singular of the adjective PROTOS meaning "first in time and order, first in dignity, first in importance, first in the sense of prominence." In other words, if you want to be first in importance or first in the sense of prominence," then.........

He must be the very last - Nominative singular of the adjective ESCHATOS meaning "last, lowest, the least, the most insignificant." To be the first and most prominent in the kingdom of heaven you must be the lowest, the least, and the most insignificant." And..........

The servant of all - Nominative singular of the noun DIAKONOS meaning "an attendant, a servant, a minister, a deacon, one who renders service to another."

Again we see that the ones who are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven are the ones who serve others. The ones who place themselves on the bottom of the list.

When I was in elementary school we had a Bible teacher come to our classroom every other week. Her name was Miss Andrews and she worked for the Rural Bible Mission. She used to tell us Bible stories and encourage us to trust in Jesus Christ. She use to put a few simple words on the board and then explain them to us. She would put the words JESUS, OTHERS, YOU. Then she would say that this should be the order of our love. We should love Jesus first, love others second, and love ourselves last. Then she would take the first letter of each word and spell J-O-Y, and tell us that true joy is always putting Jesus first, others second and ourselves last. I never forgot that simple lesson.

But I must emphaize that you won't find this taught in the public schools today. In fact, you probably won't find this taught in most Christian schools either. In fact, you won't find this taught in most Bible believing churches, because the majority of evangelical churches today have accepted the world's teaching on psychology and have adapted it to their doctrines. The world's psychology is the teaching of human self-esteem, which has its source from humanism, and humanism is purely evil originating from Satan.

Philippians 2:1-11;

Vs 1: If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,

Vs 2: then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

Vs 3: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Humility considers others better than yourself - This is diametrically opposed to the teaching of human self-esteem, which encourages you to do whatever is necessary to find your fulfillment in life. In other words, human view point says, "do your own thing." Many people have set aside their God given responsibilities in order to find fulfillment in their lives. Whether it be careers, travel, social endeavors, education or many of the other numerous things people seek in life. And while many of them do this, their children are left in day care centers or dropped off at a neighbor's house, or left with a baby sitter. The first thing that is sacrificed on the altar of human self-esteem is the family.

Vs 4: Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

I want you to notice that you are not to neglect your own interests, but at the same time you are not to ignore the interests of others.

Vs 5: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

What was the attitude of Jesus Christ? Humility! Paul then goes on to describe this in the following verses.

Vs 6: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

Many people will look at someone who is prospering in some way and say, "I can do that! I have the ability to learn that and be as successful." But if there are responsibilities involved, true humility says, "Yes, I can do that, but I have other responsibilities so it will have to wait."

For example, I've known women who have had great abilities, but they refused to pursue those abilities until after their children left home and the responsibility of raising children was completed. Then they went ahead and pursued their education and training and went into a career field.

I have also known men who had a desire to change careers, but because of their responsibility of being a husband and father, they resisted the temptation of pursuing another career until after the children were grown. But these decisions requires a person to think beyond his own needs and desires, and to look to the needs and desires of those around him, and to remain faithful to the principles of the Word of God which are based on humility.

Vs 7: but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Servant - This is a translation of the Greek word DOULOS meaning "slave, or bond slave."

Vs 8: And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!

Vs 9: Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

Vs 10: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Vs 11: and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Principles of Humility

1. Humility is recognition and respect for legitimate authority in life. For the believer and unbeliever it involves the function of the laws of divine establishment. But for the believer it also involves the recognition of delegated authority by God. Such as the authority of the Word of God, and the authority of the pastor-teacher who communicates the Word of God.

2. Humility is related to divine viewpoint thinking which means that humility is related to grace orientation and occupation with the Person of Jesus Christ.

3. Humility is teachability which recognizes the importance of Bible doctrine in the Christian way of life.

4. True humility is capacity for life, love and happiness.

5. Humility is the basis for gratitude and appreciation in life.

6. Humility is the recognition of failure in the Christian life and the willingness to recover through rebound.

7. Humility is the basis for flexibility in life.

8. True humility is not self-demeaning but functions under the problem solving devices in the plan of God.

9. Humility is the objective and genuine evaluation of your own helplessness to solve the problems of stress, pressure, calamity and disaster in your life.

In Acts 20:32-38 we read of Paul's farewell to the elders of Ephesus. In this passage we see how the apostle Paul was greatly loved and respected by those who loved the truth. Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (33) I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. (34) You yourselves know that these hands of mine supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. (35) In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE.' (36) When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. (37) They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. (38) What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship."

The phrase "It is more blessed to give than receive" has been misused by many Christians. Most people use this verse when they are asking for money for their church or some church program. But his phrase means much more than just giving money. Giving money means nothing to the Lord if you don't give of yourself. All true Biblical giving begins in the soul with the proper attitude. Giving of yourself is "being a servant of others," as we saw in our study of the humility of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10:5-7,

Vs 5: "Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: 'Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;

When Christ came into the world - This refers to the first Christmas.

He said: 'Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me - Jesus Christ as a baby in the manger on the first Christmas actually spoke to God the Father.

Vs 6: With burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.

Vs 7: Then I said, 'Here I am - it is written about me in the scroll - I have come to do your will, O God.'"

I have come to do your will, O God - Jesus Christ spoke to God the Father on that first Christmas Day telling Him that He came to "do the will of His Father." That is true humility. And 33 years later, in the Garden of Gethsemene, just before He was arrested He prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (Matt 26:39).

Jesus Christ came in humility to fulfill the plan of the Father and die for the sins of all mankind. And He admonishes us to follow in His footsteps and display this same type of humility toward others. "....whoever desires to become great.......must be a servant" (Matt 20:26).

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Copyrighted 2003 by Robert H. Kreger. All rights reserved. Anyone may reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.