“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Though He was rich, for your sake He became poor,
so that by His poverty you might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9
Today begins our journey of Dying to Live. I hope you will join me in reading through the Gospel Monthly Reading Plan this month, as we will use them as our springboard, launching us daily into an abundant, fulfilling life that can only be experienced through death.
The first chapter of John clearly tells us that Jesus was with God in the beginning before time began. Even though Jesus was with God in heaven, He chose to become flesh and take up residence among us.” (John 1:14) Jesus had a high position as the Son of God in heaven so you would assume that even if He did decide to come to earth He would do so in a most kingly manner. However, the gospel of Matthew tells us differently
“The birth of Jesus came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly. But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because he will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus.”
Jesus, the Son of God, chose to come to earth and be born into the family of a poor, young, engaged couple. What? Who gives up all their rights and riches to live among the poor and disgraced?
Jesus died to His rightful, sinless place in heaven so that He could live among the poor and sinful. This initial death to His position before even being born on earth set an example for Mary and Joseph to follow. Did you catch it?
Joseph was a righteous man and Mary was a virgin. These two teenagers had walked the line, kept to the rules, and worshipped their God. Would they give up these rightful positions they had worked so hard to sustain only to throw it out the window for some angel who told them they were going to have a baby?
Joseph and Mary gave up their popular, well-respected positions in their community to step out in obedient faith in serving the Lord who had brought them to the positions they were in already. Why would God not continue to be faithful to His children? While they were undoubtedly hurt by their neighbors sneers and gossip about their status, Joseph and Mary rested in the knowledge they were walking in the grace of God and He would continue to be their provider.
“Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing, in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men, And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11