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Dec23TueJesus came to serve and not be served. December 23, 2014 by Major Fred Ash
William Shakespeare wrote in Twelfth Night: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Some examples:
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1895: Albert Frederick Arthur George was born the second son of George V of England. He was never expected to inherit the throne but after the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII, “Bertie” went on to lead his country during the Second World War as King George VI.
1935: Elvis Presley was born in a little two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi. His parents worked hard and church influence was strong. The boy grew to love music, sing and play gospel songs. He became such a great singer that his fans called him The King.
1961: Wayne Gretzky was born in Brantford, Ont. At the age of two, he learned to skate, and his dad built a rink in their backyard for his son to play hockey. He became such a great hockey player that his fans called him The Great One.
To Serve, and Not be Served
There have been many who have achieved greatness in sports, music, politics and elsewhere. But there was only One who was truly “born great,” the One whose birth we celebrate every December 25, Jesus Christ.
John Freeman Young, who penned the third verse of the Christmas carol Silent Night, referred to Jesus as “Lord, at Thy Birth.” This was not a title He achieved in later life or by the fact of His birth. His greatness was His from birth. In fact, it was His before His birth, because He is God incarnate. The Bible puts it this way:
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the first-born over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible ... all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17).
Jesus is God. He did not become God. He always was God. His birth was the transformation of God into human flesh.
But rather than “lord” His greatness over us, Jesus taught us that true greatness is not found in climbing up, but in stooping down. Unlike many of today's celebrities and political leaders who like to parade their greatness before the world, Jesus, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:6, 7).
“Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all,” Jesus said (Mark 9:35). Not only did He say this but He lived it. From the time of His birth in a small hill town, through His early life as a humble carpenter, to His ministry and death on a nondescript cross, Jesus came to serve and not be served.
This is something to consider this Christmas as we reflect upon the baby in the manger and realize who He really is.