That’s what Jesus did for me!

1. Jesus was like God in every way. But He did not hold on to being like God. He gave it up freely and became like a slave. He became a man in this world and shared the life of human beings (Philippians 2: 6, 7). He became like me in order to share my life and my destiny.

That's what Jesus did for me!

2. Jesus was born in a stable--not a five-star hotel, not the delivery room of a famous clinic, not a room with a private midwife, private doctors and a private room. He was born in a stable to share the life of the homeless and abandoned that nobody cares for.

That's what Jesus did for me!

3. Jesus was born to a virgin, result of a divine miracle. But His enemies accused Him as born out of wedlock. Yet He made it the mission of His life to share the life of the many unwanted, illegitimate children born in this world. He shares the life of those who are rejected, stigmatized, condemned and despised --or despise themselves--because they were not born into a "normal" family or were born out of wedlock.

That's what Jesus did for me!

4. Jesus came to this Earth without any possessions to share the life of the many poor on this globe. Thus He showed all the poor that their poverty was not a sign of rejection by God. Jesus became one with the poor and remained poor until the end.

That's what Jesus did for me!

5. Jesus was born into a carpenter's home. The hard work of an artisan was His daily routine. In this way He shared the life of those who go about doing their simple, practical work. He honored those who work faithfully and became one with them--no matter how simple the job may be.

That's what Jesus did for me!

6. The first to hear of Jesus' birth were not the religious leaders, the priests and prophets, the highly spiritual and respected rabbis, but simple shepherds, watching their sheep by night. Shepherds--men little respected, who had no part in the religious activities of the town. When the angels told them of Jesus' birth, they were afraid. In this way, Jesus shared the life of those who are spiritual outsiders, the ones from whom nobody expects spiritual contributions, living at the edge of society and doing jobs nobody notices or would want to do themselves. He became one with those unnoticed by the church and with those who unexpectedly meet God--and are afraid.

That's what Jesus did for me!

7. When Jesus was still a baby, His parents fled to Egypt with Him. Jesus was supposed to be killed. Thus, He shared the life of millions of refugees, fleeing from violence, war, hunger, and persecution. For the refugees, He became a refugee.

That's what Jesus did for me!

8. Jesus lived as an alien and foreigner in Egypt. In this way, He shared the life of all aliens, foreigners and asylum seekers.

That's what Jesus did for me!

9. After many years, Jesus returned to Nazareth, a city of bad reputation. He shared the life of all returning refugees and resettled people moving to an unknown land, having to start from scratch under bad conditions.

That's what Jesus did for me!

10. When the time had come, Jesus let John baptize Him in the Jordan River in order to do the will of His Father. Thus, He became one with all sinners and the lost who are willing to confess their sins, change their lives, and be baptized--to do the will of the Father.

That's what Jesus did for me!

11. After that, Jesus went into the desert, where He was tested by Satan. He was confronted with satanic temptations. Thus, He shared the life of those who are tested by their life experiences and are faced with satanic temptations. Jesus was tested to the utmost. He knows and shares the inner battles facing those who are tempted and tested.

That's what Jesus did for me!

12. Jesus was rejected in His hometown Nazareth and driven to the edge of a cliff by an angry mob. Thus, He shared the life of those rejected by friends and family because of their faith and their beliefs. He shared the fate of those driven to the edge of existence by their circumstances.

That's what Jesus did for me!

13. Because Jesus healed on the Sabbath, the religious leaders of His time wanted to kill Him. So Jesus shared the life of all those persecuted by the religious leaders, their church, or representatives of the church for doing what God has told them to do. He shared the life of those who meet with rejection, exclusion, and persecution because of their faithfulness.

That's what Jesus did for me!

14. Jesus freed people from demonic bondage, drove out evil spirits, and healed people who were bound by Satan. Many implied that He did this not with God’s power, but with Satan's. So Jesus shares the life of those accused of being on the side of evil or getting their power from Satan and helping him to tempt the saints. Jesus shared the fate of those who are so utterly misunderstood and rejected.

That's what Jesus did for me!

15. Jesus was often misunderstood by His closest companions. Again and again, He had to tell them that they did not understand. So Jesus shared the lives of those who are misunderstood and misinterpreted--those who give their best, but still cannot convince others and have to bear the burden of being misunderstood.

That's what Jesus did for me!

16. Jesus was betrayed to His enemies by a kiss by one of His disciples. So He shared the life of those ruthlessly betrayed, sold for money, mobbed and sent to their doom with a smile by family, friends, co-workers--people they trust.

That's what Jesus did for me!

17. Jesus was arrested without having ever harmed another person. He was led off like a criminal, with swords and clubs. So Jesus shared the life of those are violently arrested on false charges and put into prison, or for not fitting into the political system, for belonging to the "wrong" religion, or for confessing the name of Jesus and doing good in His name. They are innocent, but are moved out of the way for causing unrest.

That's what Jesus did for me!

18. Jesus was not only betrayed by one of His closest companions, but also deserted by all and denied by at least one. So Jesus shared the life of all those who are deserted or even denied by friends and acquaintances--children whose parents abandon them; fathers and mothers left alone in old age because their children don't care for them; people whose acquaintances are ashamed of them and leave them because they end up in situations of deep need, illness, or helplessness; and those whose dignity is trampled on.

That's what Jesus did for me!

19. Jesus was ridiculed by wicked men. They blindfolded Him and beat Him, telling Him to say who had hit Him. They laughed at Him, abused Him, bound and mocked Him. So Jesus shared the lives of those who are ridiculed, mocked, beaten, bound and sadistically tortured by others. He has this in common especially with those abused in the name of religion and the name of God.

That's what Jesus did for me!

20. Although innocent, Jesus was sentenced to death. He was condemned to death for no reason, and underwent the cruelest torture known at the time: a slow death on a cross under excruciating pain. So Jesus shared the life of those innocently condemned to death, tortured and painfully killed. Jesus shared their pain, and their unjust death.

That's what Jesus did for me!

21. While hanging on the cross and in terrible pain, Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them!" Jesus shared the life of those who refuse to harden their hearts in hatred, pride and an unforgiving spirit--despite injustice and cruelty. Jesus remained true to Himself and even in the greatest pain was authentic. This, too, Jesus shared with those who remain faithful to their convictions despite the most negative circumstances.

That's what Jesus did for me!

22. Jesus did not remain dead for long. As He had predicted, He rose from the dead on the third day. Jesus is risen, the grave is empty, death could not hold Him. He is alive! And so Jesus shared the life of those for whom death is not the end of their being. Because they trust God and place their hope in what Jesus did on the cross, they will be resurrected as He was; they will live forever because He lives forever at His Father’s side. They will honor Him as Jesus honored the Father and make Him Lord of Lords. They will all honor the Father by confessing that Jesus is Lord.

That's what Jesus did for me!

"He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all.

When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human.

Having become human, he stayed human.

It was an incredibly humbling process.

He didn't claim special privileges.

Instead, He lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death--and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion.

Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth--even those long ago dead and buried--will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father" (Philippians 2: 6-11, The Message).

Wolfgang Stammler is dean of students at Friedensau University, Germany. His e-mail address: wolfgang.stammler@thh-friedensau.de