December 21: The Poor and Common Christ

BY Wesley Biblical Seminary
December 21, 2017

This post is part of a series of Christmas Devotionals by Dr. John Neihof, president of Wesley Biblical Seminary. You can find all of the devotionals by clicking here.

Scripture passages: Luke 2:1-7, Philippians 2:5-11

When Jesus came to earth, He was born into incredible poverty. He appeared as the most common of men. Why?

If I were God, and I’m not, I would want my Son to come to earth with the honor and heraldry fitting a king. I would think that such a regal entrance would grant acclaim and recognition to the mission I had undertaken on earth. I would think that pomp and circumstance surrounding His birth would create the publicity necessary to call sinners to salvation and save the world. But, I would be wrong. Jesus came to earth as the common Christ.

Jesus Christ endured an entrance to the world branded with poverty and commonness. An eighty-mile donkey ride from Nazareth to Bethlehem must have taken four or five days. I wonder where His folks overnighted along the way. Did they find a crowded inn? Did Joseph have the money to pay for such? Did they camp along the road or under the stars? Was it cold at night? Did the dusty road, filled with travelers, choke Mary mother as she was jostled along on the back of the donkey? Jesus came to earth as the common Christ.

His birth took place in the commonness of a lambing cave. I can imagine Mary telling the childbirth story to an eight-year old Jesus. I can see His eyes growing wide with wonder as she repeated the oft-heard story of the angels, the stable, the crowds in Bethlehem, the shepherds and the wise men. I imagine her pointing to the wise men’s gifts on a shelf in Jesus’ childhood home. The opulence of their casks and containers that once held precious gifts was a stark contrast to the poverty that surrounded Him. Jesus came to earth as the common Christ.

Jesus endured the common life, a mean and ordinary existence, speckled with poverty and brokenness. He suffered cruel accusations of being the bastard child of the community that poor, merciful Joseph took pity upon. He watched the looks of judgment and pity when He accompanied His mother, Mary, to the village well to retrieve the morning supply of water. He heard the whispers as to His suspect parentage when villagers and family members alike speculated as to whom He looked most like. Jesus watched the gossipy grimace on the face of the women as they counted the months from Mary’s marriage to Joseph to his birth. How much more common and ordinary could He be?

Jesus became one of us. He completely understands and identifies with our common condition. Yet, He remained the sinless Lamb of God, the Savior of the world, Deliverer, and soon coming King. He is our common Christ.

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