Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9–11
Our Lord has always delighted to show his power through apparent defeat. He makes tactical retreats to win strategic victories. Jacob’s son Joseph was promised glory and power in his dream (Genesis 37:5–11). But to achieve that victory he had to become a slave in Egypt. And as if that were not enough, when his conditions improved because of his integrity, he was made worse than a slave — a prisoner.
But it was all planned. For there in prison he met Pharaoh’s butler, who eventually brought him to Pharaoh who put him over Egypt. What an unlikely route to glory!
But that is God’s way — even for his Son. Who also emptied himself and took the form of a slave. Worse than a slave — a prisoner — and was executed. But like Joseph, he kept his integrity. “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Philippians 2:9–10).
Christmas was God’s most successful setback. And this is God’s way for us too. We are promised glory — if we will suffer with him (Romans 8:17). The way up is down. The way forward is backward. The way to success is through divinely appointed setbacks. They will look and feel like failure many times. But if Joseph and Jesus teach us anything this Christmas it is this: “God meant it for good!” (Genesis 50:20).
The Child of Bethlehem would eventually overcome death — He did it by dying. For our sake He suffered and died going to the other side to open the way for us. We celebrate His birth, because of what He did to death — not just any death — my death!
Mark Gade—for the CtK E-newsletter
You fearful saints fresh courage take
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and will break
In blessings on your head
William Cowper 1774