Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.
–Philippians 2:5

Yesterday, we saw King Herod’s formula for success. Today we will contrast Herod’s formula for success with that of another King who is found in Matthew 2, the real King of the Jews: King Jesus. What is the philosophy that guided Jesus’s life and His desire for success?

To answer that question, we will look at Philippians 2:3-5. Paul says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” There are several mottos that sum up the attitude that governed Jesus’s life.

Motto number one: “If you’ve got it, you don’t have to flaunt it.” You know one way to spot a weak leader? He is always running around reminding everybody that he is in charge. Jesus never had to do that. Philippians 2:6 says, “Although He existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself.” Jesus is co-equal to God the Father. He existed from the very beginning, and He will exist for all eternity. Jesus is not a subservient figure to God. He is equal to God the Father. So why was Jesus, co-equal with God, willing to take off His heavenly robe and come to earth to empty Himself?

That leads to the second motto that describes Jesus’s philosophy: “Others first.” In Mark 10:45, Jesus said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” The fact that God was willing to implant His being in that tiny embryo in Mary’s womb has great implications for all of us. The incarnation, the coming of God in the flesh, means that God understands you. He has walked where you have walked. There is no heartache, no trial, no sadness you face that Jesus Himself has not experienced.

But the primary reason God took human form is the reason Paul mentions: “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). At Christmastime, we try to work up all this sentimentality over a baby being born in a manger. But if we are honest, there is nothing unusual about babies being born. Babies are born all the time. The story of Christmas begins with the manger, but it has to move to the cross before you understand the significance. This baby was not any baby; He was God in the flesh. He was a baby who was born to die. And the reason He came to die on a cross was so that He could take the punishment from God that you and I deserve for our sins. The Bible says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And because of that, our deserved payment for sin is eternal death. Every one of us deserves to spend eternity in hell, separated from God. Jesus came to satisfy the wrath of God that we all deserve.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Portrait of Two Kings” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.