For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
-2 Corinthians 8:9
When Jesus ascended the mountain to teach the crowds, those watching Him expected Him to proclaim a powerful new authority over the currently ruling party. The Romans, who had occupied the Jewish territories, had instituted a brutal regime that saw widespread poverty and violence against the people. In Jesus, the people saw a King who was coming to rid the land of the Romans and bring health and wealth to the people once more. No longer would they be slaves of the Roman empire, they would now live comfortable with King Jesus!
Imagine their confusion when Jesus uttered these world-changing words:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
When Jesus arrived, He brought in His wake an entirely new ethic for living in the Kingdom of God. No longer were men and women to vie for position and power, but instead, they were to become one another’s servants. Instead of storing up wealth in their storehouses, they were to fling open the doors with joy and give to all who had need. Rather than seek justice for wrongdoing, these new people were to live with open-handed generosity and forgiveness to all.
Can you see now why the people started to walk away from Jesus when they heard these words?
In His life, Jesus showed that the way we live our lives physically shows how we are spiritually. Jesus Himself modeled this ethic when He humbled Himself and left His throne as King of Kings to become a poor, destitute infant in a barn. His life of poverty and His death on the brutal Roman cross showed that His work was not of a physical Kingdom, but of a spiritual one.
It is this amazing grace Jesus showed that the apostle Paul writes of in our reading today. When we truly grasp how Jesus lived His life, we begin to understand how we are to live as His disciples. Though Jesus had great power and wealth as a King, He bowed down to become a suffering servant. Though we have wealth and power in the resurrected life, we are to bow as well to serve those who are unlike us – or even against us! In this humility the believer isn’t powerless – rather they are at their most powerful and purposeful in their serving.
What does this life of powerful humility look like for you? How would it change how you live your life every day?
Questions For Reflection on 2 Corinthians 8:9
#1 Read today’s passage once more. How does Jesus’s life on earth show us how we are to live as His disciples? When people look at us, do they see Jesus in our actions and words?
#2 When Jesus was attacked, ridiculed, and ultimately hung on the cross, He never lost His ability to call upon the legions of heaven to come to His aid. Instead, He took upon Himself the suffering and death required for us to be restored to Him. How does Jesus’s example show how we should react to those who are our “enemies” here on earth?
Lord Jesus, thank You for living a humble and radical life. Thank You for choosing to humble yourself to the cross that I may know You and Your love for me. I admit that I often struggle to live the life that You have called me to live. My selfish nature and sinful ways keep me from choosing to live in servitude to those You died to save. Help me to know how You lived Your life each day and guide me in how to live the same today, tomorrow, and forever. I long to know the way Your Kingdom works in my world today.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.