Today's Reading: Proverbs 25:6-14
Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of the great; (Proverbs 25:6)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We want the top spot. The seat at the cool table. Even if we are not in the "in" crowd, it's still nice to have friends. And very often we will throw our friends under the bus if it means making ourselves look better or being popular with others. Wherever we have selfishness, it's not just the cool table we're aiming for. We're trying for God's spot. Move over, God, and let me have the top spot. Let the world bow down to me and act like I'm the king.
Jesus stood before kings. And governors. And religious councils. And He didn't defend Himself. He didn't speak up. He didn't try to throw them aside and declare Himself "Dictator for Life!" But Jesus doesn't come humbly to show us a good example. Hey, be humble like Jesus. He comes to act humbly so that His humility will save us from our pride. His being lowly will save us from exalting ourselves. Jesus doesn't come without a lot of pomp to show how humble He is but in order to save us.
That humility is nowhere more evident than on Golgotha, where the Son of God is nailed naked to a cross, crowned with thorns and is the butt of every joke and insult. And there, in that one example of true humility, He's doing that for you. Not a bit for Himself. All for you.
Jesus comes to raise you up —n ot in the way the world exalts things but in the way God does. For real. By forgiving sins. Down you go humbled in Holy Baptism; up you come, a new creation in Jesus. Down you go in humility, confessing your sins; up you go with Jesus' words of forgiveness. Down you go in humility at the altar rail, bowing or even kneeling; up you are raised, full of Jesus and all His forgiveness, life and salvation.
God's Word says don't put yourself in the place of the great. But Jesus can put you there, for by His life, death and resurrection and His gifts in His church, He puts you at the highest place of all: with Him in the heavenly places. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
In silent pain the eternal Son Hangs derelict and still; In darkened day His work is done, Fulfilled, His Father's will. Uplifted for the world to see He hangs in strangest victory, For in His body on the tree He carries all our ill. (In Silent Pain the Eternal Son, LSB 432:1)