Jesus takes beggars and makes them princes

Imagine the Managing Director of a major business stripping off his pinstripe suit and dressing instead in the clothes of the lowest job in the company, and then quietly, without anyone noticing, he slips downstairs to the basement and he takes on a job that pays him just enough to survive. And later, when he leaves for home, no doorman salutes him and no chauffeur driven car awaits. Instead, he joins the other basement workers to find his own way home.

Because in effect that’s what Jesus did: He “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness,” Philippians 2:7. Our Creator became his created. He stripped off his Managing Director’s clothes and clothed himself in our humanity to be one of us.

But why? Well, it clearly demonstrated that God isn’t like your typical human leader, who loves lording it over people and living a life of privilege and riches with servants doing all the menial work. Instead, it was his pleasure as God to leave the haven of his Father’s love and get down in the dirt where we are. But what that did was enable him to absorb all that we are into himself, like a prince who leaves his Father’s castle and seeks out the worst-off beggars in the city and joins them in their misery, sharing their ragged clothes, scraps for food, and humiliation from the public.

But Jesus went one step further. He not only took the life of the beggars into himself, he also gave the beggars his life instead. He put on their ragged clothes and gave them his princely clothes so they could enter the castle any time they wished. Dressed in his clothes they had free access. They could walk right in and be treated like the prince himself, as a member of the Father’s household. All the privileges of a son of God were now theirs. And nothing they’d done had made it so. They had simply found themselves in princely clothing ever since Jesus had joined them.

And that’s why Jesus joined us, to exchange his clothes for ours, to make us into princes. He lived the life that God intended humans to live, so that he could clothe us in that life too. We could never do it for ourselves, so he left the castle to do it for us. And here we all are standing before God as his adopted sons, “holy and blameless in his sight,” Ephesians 1:4-5. We’re all princes, Christian and non-Christian alike. And all because Jesus came as a human to wear our beggar’s clothes and give us his princely clothes instead.

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