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Christmas: Jesus emptied Himself

Faith & Inspiration

When Jesus came down to earth from heaven, he "emptied himself" (Philippians 2:7). There is no getting around it. The Greek word for ekenosen means "to make empty, to make vain or void." The Messiah relinquished all the prerogatives of divinity while remaining God.

This is huge. It means that during His time among us, Jesus did not fall back on, take advantage of, or otherwise avail himself of any of the perks of Godhood.

He had to. That was the only way to follow the plan. Because it was a man whose sin lost our place with God, it had to be a man whose obedience won it back-with no cheating. The faith tests that Adam and all other men after him failed to pass with a perfect score had to be passed perfectly by a man-or the story was over. The tests had to be authentic and hard. They had to be done in reliance on the Spirit's power alone.

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Jesus admitted:

"The Son of God can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing …" (John 5:19).

"Nothing." David's son used no supernatural capabilities whatsoever on His own. He had chosen to live within the limitations of humans so as to save humans. This means that all the miracles Jesus did He did as a man in right relationship with His God (Ephesians 1:3). The implications are staggering.

Let us build the case: Christ was able to do unheard of things because of two facts about Him: He had no sin to create a rift between Himself and God; and He was completely, and in every moment, dependent on the Holy Spirit (John 5:19, 30; 6:38; 8:26).

Let us draw this out: What is our position in relation to God now that we have put our trust in Christ? First, we are cleansed and our sin is removed, as people "in Christ." There is no longer anything separating us from the Father.

This is the only question that remains: Are we willing to live a life totally dependent on the Holy Spirit-not in an abstract or theoretical way, but in a daily practical way? How can we do that? By cocking our ear to the Spirit's leading just as Jesus did. And how does the Spirit speak? Through God's Word. And how can we hear Him speak through his Word? By feeding ourselves on it until it dwells in us richly. And then, as we go about our day and have to make choices about what to do and say and think, the Spirit brings His wonderful words to mind.

Blessed is the person who walks faithfully by the Spirit. As Jesus said: He will do even greater things (John 14:12).

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again. Follow Andrée on Twitter @Andreespeterson.

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