Bible study should taste and be enjoyed like a good meal. Can you imagine how boring life would be if we only ate to stay alive and gulp down our food only because we had to feed our body with something nutritious? It would be crazy if we didn't slow down a bit to enjoy the delicacies. Let the taste of every single bite unfold and let the scents rise in your nose. I have already spoken about the valuable pieces of knowledge and wisdom that can be found throughout the entire text of the Bible. Ultimately, they express the nature and love of God. To find these gems, we have to learn to slow down and digest Bible texts like a good meal slowly. Every single word should be internalized and chewed again so that it leads us to what it is about. A few days ago I read Paul's lines saying that God humbled himself and took the form of a human being (Philippians 2,6-8). How quickly do you read past these lines without fully understanding them or understanding the effects.
Powered by love
Stop for a moment and think about it. The creator of the whole universe, who created the sun, the moon, the stars, the whole universe, disempowered himself from his power and beauty and became a man of flesh and blood. However, he did not become a grown man, but a helpless child who relied entirely on his parents. He did it out of love for you and me. Christ our Lord, the greatest of all missionaries, laid bare the beauties of the heavens to bear witness to the good news on earth, perfecting the plan of salvation and repentance through his ultimate act of love. The son, beloved by the father, counted the riches of heaven as insignificant and degraded himself when he was born as a baby in the small town of Bethlehem. One would think that God chose a palace or the center of civilization for his own birth, right? At that time Bethlehem was neither adorned with palaces nor the center of the civilized world. It was politically and socially, very insignificant.
But a prophecy from Micah 5,1 says, "And you, Bethlehem Efrata, who are small among the cities of Judah, out of you shall come to me, who is master in Israel, whose end has been from the beginning and from everlasting."
The child of God was not born in a village, but even in a barn. Many scholars believe that this barn was probably a small back room steeped in the smell and sounds of a cattle shed. God did not have a very pompous appearance when he first appeared on earth. The trumpet sounds announcing a king were replaced by the bleating of the sheep and donkey shouting.
This humble king grew up in insignificance and never took glory and honor on himself, but always referred to the father. Only in the twelfth chapter of the Gospel of John does he say that the time has come for him to be worshiped, and so he rode on a donkey in Jerusalem. Jesus is recognized as who he is: the king of kings. Palm branches are spread out before his path and the prophecy is fulfilled. It will be Hosanna! sung and he does not ride on a white horse with flowing mane, but on a not even fully grown donkey. He rides his feet in the dirt on a young donkey foal into the city.
In Philippians 2,8 is spoken of his last act of humiliation:
"He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on the cross." He has conquered sin, not the Roman Empire. Jesus did not live up to the expectations the Israelites set for a Messiah. He did not come to defeat the Roman Empire, as many hoped, and he did not come to establish an earthly kingdom and increase his people. He was born a baby in an inconspicuous city and lived with the sick and sinners. He avoided standing in the limelight. He rode on a donkey in Jerusalem. Although heaven was his throne and the earth was his stool, he did not exalt himself because his only motivation was his love for you and me.
He established his kingdom, which he had longed for since the world was created. He did not defeat Roman rule or any other worldly powers, but the sin that kept humanity in captivity for so long. He rules over the hearts of believers. God did all of this and at the same time he taught us all an important lesson of selfless love by revealing to us its true nature. After Jesus humiliated himself, God "exalted him and gave him the name that is above all names" (Philippians 2,9).
We are already looking forward to His return, which will not take place in an inconspicuous little village, but in honor, power and glory visible to all humanity. This time he will ride a white horse and take his rightful rule over the people and the whole creation.
by Tim Maguire