And as soon as David returned from the striking down of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”
As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. I Samuel 17:57-18:5 ESV
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8 ESV
Many years ago a woman named Christina was the queen of Sweden. She was a very powerful queen and worked very hard, but one day she decided she didn’t want to be the queen anymore. Her cousin Charles Gustavus was next in line for the throne, and she decided to give up all her rights as queen to her cousin and let him be the king. There was an abdication ceremony where her sword, key, orb, and scepter were all laid on a table. She took the crown off her head and her attendants took off her mantle. She stepped down from her silver throne and left all these symbols of her power and authority for her cousin. Charles Gustavus became the king of Sweden and ruled instead of her.
Queen Christina gave up being the queen because she wanted to follow a different kind of Christianity that wasn’t allowed in Sweden. She didn’t do it because she loved her cousin. Jonathan did something very similar, but he did it out of love. He was Saul’s son and the crown prince, but he recognized God’s will that David should be the next king instead of him. Jonathan might have been jealous and angry, or tried to fight for his rights. But he loved David as much as he loved himself. Instead of fighting, he took off his robe, armor, sword, bow, and belt. These were all of the symbols of his rights and power as a prince, and he gave them to David because he loved him. What an amazing love!
There is an even more amazing love than Jonathan’s. This is the love that Jesus has for us. Jesus is the Son of God and he has all the right and power to rule the whole universe. But Jesus laid aside all his rights and came into our world as a weak and helpless human baby. He didn’t become a powerful earthly king, but instead lived a life of service and love. In the end, he died a horrible, painful death on the cross for us. He did all this because he loved us. Because Jesus lowered himself for us, we will someday share in his glory in heaven forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for laying aside all your glory to come and live on our earth and to die for us. Amen.