“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (CSB)
During the last several months, it has been easy to focus on the weakness of our bodies, the country, or even our spirits. Months of isolation a mist a global pandemic can make us feel isolated and alone. These quiet moments have a way of allowing the lies of the enemy to settle into our hearts. He whispers, "You are alone. Your world is hopeless. Why follow a God who is keeping you locked away in fear and weakness." If we fail to stand on the promises of God, our souls will start to fill the empty hole in our hearts with lies that only crush our spirits.
Looking at the life of Jesus gives us a road map, guiding us through the depths of weakness and loneliness. Jesus lived a life of weakness, starting his life in a manger. Many people pass over the significance of the birthplace of Christ and fail to grasp the lowly place in which the King of Kings started his life. The manger was a feeding trough where cattle, horses, and donkeys ate within the stable. Stop and think for a second about where you would typically picture the birthplace of a king. In that time, kings were born into a royal family which meant they started their lives in the palace. Not Jesus. The King of the world started His life in a place where animals came to eat. Dirty. Smelly. Lonely. Weak.
For most of His life, Jesus was a wanderer, constantly traveling around preaching the gospel to strangers. Nothing about this life was comforting or popular. He spent his time being the center of rejection, anger, and pure hatred. Imagine the heartbreak when one of his children would reject the free, lifesaving gospel He offered them. Imagine the loneliness of never having an earthly home or being with those He loved most. Imagine the weakness in hours of torturous pain, hanging naked on the cross. Needless to say, Jesus is fully acquainted with the despair we feel when it seems we are in the depths of weakness. That empty feeling in our hearts is the birthplace of a life of joy and peace that only Jesus provides if we allow him the opportunity to hide Truth in the secret places of our hearts (Psalm 51).
Isaiah 40:29, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
If you only look at Jesus' life on the surface, it might be hard to see the underlying glory and comfort that His long-suffering gives the Christian. When Christ came down from heaven, He left the right hand of God and laid in the lowliest place on earth... a manger. How comforting is it to know our Lord felt what it's like to live in the lowliest of positions. We cannot even imagine being in the full presence of God or what the Christian has waiting for them in heaven, but Jesus knew exactly what He was leaving. He knew the fullness He was surrendering and the brokenness He was choosing to experience. Why would He choose to abandon all glory in heaven? Because He loved us. He loved us so much that He would trade fullness for brokeness, the right hand of God for a cross on a hill.
"And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Christ's birth was announced by a multitude of angels declaring the glory that had entered into Earth. If you look closer at the words of this verse, you see the angels address Jesus being born in a manger. Immediately, they began to sing, "Glory to God in the highest." The angles recognized the highest of beings had chosen to enter into the lowliest of places and gave God all the glory for His great kindness. How great is our Savior! He gave up his status and position in order to relate to His .
As He started His ministry, Jesus traveled throughout the known world, giving up daily comforts. There was never a safe place for Jesus. He was followed by opposition, usually by people who claimed to serve the God who sent Him. Christ lived His life in a way that would allow us to relate to Him in our most lowly times. We can look to Jesus when we feel most alone and know He felt the same feelings we do. Isn't it comforting to know that we worship a God that is not distant or unrelatable?
In the last days of Christ's life, He walked down His most weak and lonely road. John Piper points out the physical road to Calvery is downhill. Jesus started his life in a low place, but ends His life in an even lower place. Jesus was never exalted on earth. His entire life was low, lower, to lowest. Jesus was constantly in a place of submission and weakness so that God the Father would receive all the glory. Through Christ's weakness, the world saw the kindness and compassion of the Father. We were able to see Christ's power be made perfect in His weakness.
Although times are unpredictable, we do not have to focus on the news of the world that changes almost hourly. We can focus on the Truth that never changes like the shifting shadows (James 1:17). The Truth we claim is Jesus, our lowly Savior, has made a way for sinners. He conquered death. He makes the weak strong. He is near the broken. He continually holds us with His right hand (Psalm 73). He gives us peace in times of chaos. Do not be disheartened in this day, for the Lord has made all things new and will ultimately restore the Earth to its rightful place in the day of Christ.
“This is how the Lord reigns: from infinite deity, to feeding trough, to final torment on the cross.”- John Piper