A Man Worth Following

I opened the news app on my phone to see the breaking news of yet another powerful leader who has been found guilty of sexual harassment in the workplace. I read the story and sighed with anger and sadness as I thought of the many men in positions of authority who have chosen to abuse their power, lacking the character needed to be true leaders in our society.

We are living in days when this “revealing” has become normative. It seems that every few days lately, another leader is revealed to be lacking in character. While this has certainly been discouraging to witness, it also encourages me that justice is being accomplished for many people who have been wounded deeply as a result of these men’s actions. It also encourages me as I talk with others about these issues that for many people in our country, character is still the most important quality they are looking for in a leader.

The Humble King

With these recent stories and reports swirling in the back of my brain, I opened an Advent devotional with my children and read to them of the condescending nature of Christ – Our God who chose to leave His heavenly throne and came to earth in order to die for our sins.

The most powerful of men, Jesus Christ, “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).

For Our Sakes, He Became Poor

Jesus could have been born in the nicest hotel in Bethlehem, but that wasn’t God’s will. As we read in “Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent, “The “No Vacancy” signs all over the motels of Bethlehem were for your sake. ‘For your sake he became poor’ (2 Corinthians 8:9). God rules all things – even motel capacities – for the sake of his children. The Calvary road begins with a “No Vacancy” sign in Bethlehem and ends with the spitting and scoffing of the cross in Jerusalem.”

The humility of Christ is unlike anything we have ever witnessed in another man. It is winsome and wonderful, leaving me breathless at what God has done for me. When we witness the Nativity and marvel at the gift of God made flesh for our sakes, we experience what the magnificent Christmas hymn, O Holy Night, says so well: “He appeared – and the soul felt its worth.”

We have not all endured public disgrace the way that some of these powerful men have recently, but Jesus has. The very big difference is that Jesus chose to take a punishment He did not deserve. He is sinless and yet chose to face public disgrace and humiliation in our place for our sins. I can’t imagine someone witnessing the shame one of these men is experiencing right now and saying, “Yes – I will endure that instead of him so that he doesn’t have to.” But that is precisely what Jesus did for us.

Advent is a season to bend low, turning our meditations to the beautiful humility of Christ. It is a time to linger long at the glory shining in lowly places, asking God to teach us His ways, that we might grow in humility ourselves. For all who are willing and ready to follow, Jesus is ready to lead. What a man to follow!

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