I heard an interview this morning with ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer. When asked about the Denver Broncos and their quarterback, Tim Tebow, Dilfer accurately stated: “The only one who doesn’t make this about Tim Tebow is Tim Tebow.” He was referring to Tim’s humility in interviews during the Broncos’ current six-game winning streak. And–he is correct. Tim deflects praise, giving credit to his teammates and to the coaching staff. Humility and the NFL do not often go together. It is a sport where a wide receiver will catch a TD pass and celebrate like he just won the Superbowl when–in fact–his team is still down by twenty-one points. Thankfully, the NFL has men like Aaron Rodgers and Tim Tebow–men who know how to lead, not simply pass (Aaron) or run (Tim).* They lead with humility.
As we prepare for Christmas, we are reminded that there simply is no better example of someone who led with humility than Jesus Christ. This afternoon I led our 7th-High School students in a study of Philippians 2:11-14. Here’s the text:
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (2:5-11; NASB).
Christmas is the historically accurate account of a glorious King entering His inglorious creation. It is the celebration of Deity dressing Himself in humanity. It is also a gift-wrapped opportunity for us to respond appropriately to the person and works of Jesus Christ. The Lord came low that I might be raised high. However, that raising has a very inauspicious beginning. It starts with the bow of the knee. In other words, any future exaltation results from present humility. The Bible repeatedly stresses the importance of our knowing and loving Jesus Christ. Allow me to put it in these words: This is the Christmas to willingly bow the knee and confess Jesus Christ is Lord. Why would we wait another year? If NFL quarterbacks can be humble about that which is relatively meaningless, can’t we be humble about that which is absolutely necessary?
*In a post-game interview on Sunday, Chicago Bears’ all-pro lineman Brian Urlacher is quoted saying the following about Denver QB Tim Tebow: “He’s a very good running back.” That is funny!