Editor’s note: As we celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas, enjoy these two short but powerful devotions on the beauty of the Incarnation from Eugene Peterson, beloved pastor and translator of the Message Bible. The 365-day devotional God’s Message for Each Day gathers Peterson’s best-loved, most powerful writing into a daily invitation to grow closer to God — an easy, actionable way to build a daily devotional reading routine.
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights.
— Isaiah 42:1, NRSV
The servant role was completed in Jesus. Though there were auspicious signs that preceded and accompanied His birth, preparing the world for the majestic and kingly, the birth of Jesus itself was of the humblest peasant parentage, in an unimportant town, and in the roughest of buildings. He made a career of rejecting marks of status or privilege: He touched lepers, washed the feet of His disciples, befriended little children, encouraged women to join His entourage, and, finally, submitted to crucifixion by a foreign power. Everything about Jesus spoke of servitude.
Emptied and Filled
Christ Jesus… emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.
— Philippians 2:5-7, NRSV
St. Paul’s description of Jesus, “emptied himself,” is often cited as the center point in the work of Incarnation, the making of our salvation. Emptying is prelude to filling. The Son of God empties Himself of prerogative, of divine rights, of status and reputation, in order to be the one whom God uses to fill up creation and creatures with the glory of salvation. A bucket, no matter what wonderful things it contains, is of no use for the next task at hand until it is emptied.
Excerpted with permission from God’s Message for Each Day by Eugene Peterson, copyright Eugene Peterson.
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How does Jesus’ example of servitude inspire you today? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!