It might have been easy yesterday to look upon those in authority and ask them to give up their high and mighty positions in order to be more like the rest of us who are serving in the trenches. But, Jesus did not just die to His high and mighty position in heaven. He also taught those who were serving in lowly positions to also die. Jesus, in His earthly body, held a lowly position in society and yet continued to die to that low position so that He could live the life God had set before Him.
In Luke chapter two we find Jesus not born in a mansion or a prominent hotel in Jerusalem, but in a feeding trough in the back of an inn in Bethlehem. The King of Kings born in a barn?!? Is this the king the Jews were waiting for? Then, instead of sending the birth announcement to Herod and the rest of the officials in high positions, the birth announcement goes out to shepherds!! You know the people who were considered the lowest of the low in society at that time. Eight days later, when Joseph and Mary take Jesus to the temple for His circumcision we do not hear about all the priests and governors and leaders coming and oohing and aahing over the young king. Instead we see an old, righteous man and an old prophetess, widow being among the first to cast eyes upon the Christ King. The last thing we read in chapter two of Luke is Jesus as a young man of 12 years. He is found in the temple complex listening and asking questions. When His parents find Him, Jesus does not demand to stay in the temple, but uses His earthly position as a 12 year old boy to show respect to His parents and set an example for others. After respectfully telling His earthly parents He has to be following His Heavenly Father’s instructions, he goes home with them to be obedient and grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and people.
So what does this mean for us? You may not have found yourself relating to persons of high positions yesterday, but if you find yourself in a shepherd position Christ teaches us how to die even when we are poor.
Christ was born into a poor carpenter family. At 12 years old, he had to be in His Father’s house (Luke 2:49). However, Christ used His lowly position as the son of a carpenter to give glory to His Father in heaven by being obedient to His parents. This example is also seen by the shepherds. After hearing the proclamation of the Savior being born and going and seeing it for themselves, the shepherds did not take a lofty view of themselves and brag about receiving the news first. No, they shared it with others so that the message could be spread and God be glorified. When Simeon was granted his request to see the Son of God before his death, he did not brag to the people in the temple how he received what he asked for because of how righteous he had been. Instead, He praised and addressed God alone. Anna, too, used her lowly position as a widow not to bring glory and honor to herself, but to God alone. She was rewarded for her faithfulness in fasting and prayers by continuing to proclaim hope and salvation for all those who came looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Each of us has a calling. Whether it is high or low, no one should boast in it, but in the Lord. Our dying to our highest or most lowliest of position will enable us to live. God is faithful and will be praised.
“Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence. But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, in order that as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31