If you could have any super power, what would you choose? Would it be the ability to time travel? To fly? What if you could do or achieve anything you wanted just at the snap of your fingers? Would you become famous? Rich? Popular? Omniscient? Would you win a gold medal or make a discovery that would cause you to be remembered forever?
What if you simply – and deliberately – chose to set that unlimited power aside? That’s what Jesus did. For a lot – if not all – of us, this is almost incomprehensible.
We are bombarded with the message that we should flaunt our attributes. We are told to look out for number one and to seek recognition for whatever we accomplish, whether it’s in sports, business, school, or family life. Even in our volunteerism, we often want a pat on the back. But Jesus didn’t do any of that.
As today’s Scripture says, Jesus “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” Not only did Jesus take human form, but it was a lowly human form. He was born in a stable and to modest means. He was not born into a family of wealth and prestige. He went through life’s awkward stages. He was essentially an itinerant preacher. He was as humble as it gets. And what is truly remarkable about Christ’s humility is that, because he was “in the very nature God,” he could very easily have acquired dazzling riches, flaunted his power, and performed maneuvers of military might.
Instead, even when confronted with the temptation to become powerful by worldly standards, Jesus deliberately chose to abstain from such power. He directed his power towards healing others and serving God. He “humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.” He could have used his power to avoid all of that. But he chose not to.
Let us follow these words from Philippians and bow our knees to worship Jesus and confess that he is Lord. Let us worship Christ by following his two foremost commandments: to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. By loving God and by truly putting others ahead of ourselves, we will inch towards the goal of imitating Christ’s example of humility.
Jennifer West Freeman