‘Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power . . . so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel round his waist.’ John 13.3-4
We are spending a few days pausing before the manger, focusing on the very beginning of the life of Jesus – yet today’s reading occurs towards the end of his life! It occurs just before Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. These words set out something worth pondering as we pause before the manger, seeking to increase the sense of wonder in our God.
It is highly likely that all of us believe that God has ultimate power – after all, being God must surely mean that he is all-powerful. However the Christmas story reminds us of the second part of this verse from John 13 – the fact that the all-powerful God came to earth, not as a ruler but as a servant.
The image of the baby in the manger is so vulnerable; a less likely picture of an omnipotent God we could not find! Yet it is this vulnerable image that is at the heart of our faith. In coming as a servant, Jesus made himself vulnerable to his service being rejected and to people misunderstanding both him and his mission. In many ways it might have more effective if he had come in all his glory so that his message would not have been missed, but perhaps what he really wanted was for us to catch his message out of choice, and not out of force.
As you spend some time before Jesus now, he is waiting for your response. He has drawn you to himself and his desire is for you to respond to him; to kneel before the one who made himself vulnerable for you.