Monday, January 07, 2013

Alphabet of Love - E for Empty

I love watching the TV show Undercover Boss.  It’s the classic The Prince and the Pauper with a reality-TV spin.  During a one-hour episode we are given a (carefully choreographed, I must add) peek into a life of a CEO of a successful company leaving behind his or her life of status and privilege for a couple of weeks, going incognito and becoming an entry-point, grunt worker in their own company.  Descending from the ‘ivory tower’ and mingling with, becoming one of the ‘commoners’ turns out to be quite an eye-opening and even life-changing experience for everyone involved.

Commendable as these individuals are, none of them come anywhere near to what the Son of God did when He clothed Himself with the ‘rags’ of human flesh and came down from His ‘ivory tower’ to live among us.

Born in a stable because there was no room for them inside the inn.  As a toddler, He became a refugee with a death warrant on His head. Most of His life He supported His family as a blue-collar worker.  When hungry, He didn’t use any of His ‘superpowers’ to feed Himself.  He didn’t try to attract crowds by some impressive stunt or miracles.  He washed His disciple’s filthy feet. He didn’t resist His arrest even though He could have summoned an army of angels to His defense. He was tired, hungry, thirsty, weary, grieved, angry; misunderstood, hated, persecuted, betrayed.  He surrendered to mocking, scoffing, beatings all the way to the shameful, painful death of a common criminal. His life of selfless service went on even while He was hanging on the cross.  His body was laid in borrowed grave (at least that was only for a short time!).  And after He was resurrected He continued with His humble service by doing what most mothers do for their children every mundane morning - He cooked breakfast for His disciples on a beach. All this (and much is left out, of course) breaks every conceivable mold of our idea of respectable Divinity.

Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:6-8

By emptying Himself, by becoming one of us all the way through the cross, Jesus forever transformed our view and our relationship with God. His emptying became a way for us to be filled with all the fullness of God.  

His life on earth, His death and resurrection  also uniquely qualify Him to represent us before God the Father. He is the only one who truly understand us and the only one who knows how to fill our emptiness.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15,16

For Further Reflection:

Do you feel empty?
 How do you try to fill up your emptiness?  Does it work? 
Do you see your emptiness as an invitation to go to Christ and ask to receive His fullness?

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