One of Us

12.25.23 Devo Image

“Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name.”—Philippians 2:5–9 (CSB)

Around the time I became a Christian, I remember the film Bruce Almighty (2003) had released and the concept of a man becoming God seemed rather silly. Putting aside some of the questionable comedy, the message of the movie was profound for a secular movie. In short, Bruce didn’t get the job promotion he expected and, due to his reaction and his attempt to humiliate the co-worker that got promoted, Bruce rightfully gets fired. He then challenges God by spitefully saying, “You’re the one who should get fired.” In turn, God then offers Bruce His supernatural powers to teach him a lesson, but with His powers also comes the burdensome responsibility of being a just and merciful God. 

This film, surprisingly, first taught me of God’s holiness because no one can EVER be like God. However, Morgan Freeman brilliantly portrayed God’s humility because God did become one of us the moment He was born. The song “One of Us,” also in the movie, by Joan Osborne ponders: “What if God was one of us?” But as believers, we don’t have to ask because we know He was. He felt the agony of humanity by becoming a human Himself and having to willingly suffer on the cross to deliver us from our own sin, but He remained holy without eliminating His divine essence or Deity (Colossians 2:9). This means He chose to give up the right to enjoy His rights as God, but He still could never give up His rights. Jesus in human form is still holy, perfect, and He’s still God, a God who sympathizes with us all (Hebrews 4:15).

Therefore, Jesus didn’t lose His identity when He became human and very well knew who He was and His purpose of His existence. Although equal to God, He never exploited His connection to the Trinity. 

Have you ever found yourself in a situation when you name drop or exploit someone’s name because of who they are and the reputation they have in your surroundings? You figure, if you use their name, it can get you places and advantages. Imagine if Jesus walked around telling people who His dad was and used His position to rule the world?  He could have, but He didn’t. Instead, He came into this world as a vulnerable and non-threatening being of our society: a little baby boy

He was born in some unprecedented circumstances in a manger to ordinary people. God chose Mary, a young unmarried virgin but betrothed girl, to carry Jesus in her womb. God also chose Joseph, a humble carpenter who comes from the royal lineage of David, to be Jesus’ earthly father. In Nazareth, this becomes a scandalous and controversial pregnancy. Mary and Joseph are not even married yet! Doesn’t God care about Mary’s reputation? Not a glamorous look for the King of this world! Jesus was born ordinary for an extraordinary mission yet He follows the same trade as Joseph until it’s time to launch His ministry.  

Bruce failed miserably at his attempt to be, think, or serve like Jesus, just like we do when we try to live a righteous life by our own hands and will. He even exploited his powers and tried to benefit from the “perks” of being God without feeling the true weight of the world. He answered everyone’s prayers “yes” without listening to them and in turn created a catastrophe in his city. But without faith, it’s impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). The movie ends with God and Bruce developing more of a personal relationship. Bruce realizes he can’t do good in the world without God’s help and guidance. God reminded Bruce of how much He loves him and how He wants to be part of his life but He won’t force His way into it because of free will. Most importantly, God urged him to BE the miracle in his community.

God loves you and He wants to be part of your life, but He won’t force His way into it because of free will. Most importantly, God wants you to be the miracle in your community. 

Pause: As we celebrate His miraculous birth today and say goodbye to another year in a few days, perhaps it’s time to reflect on this past year and our own relationship with Jesus (2 Corinthians 13:5–6).

Practice: “People want Me to do everything for them, but what they don’t realize is, they have the power. You want to see a miracle, son? Be the miracle” (Morgan Freeman as God in Bruce Almighty). Be the miracle! Bless someone this Christmas with an A.R.K. (Act of Random Kindness).

Pray: Father, I’m in awe of how faithful You have been. Thank You for Your holy Son, Jesus Christ, for sending Him on a mission to save our souls. I don’t deserve Your grace, but I’m forever thankful for His sacrifice. Thank You we can have a relationship with You and for loving me even in my worst moments. Help me be the miracle in my community so I can keep telling others about You. May this Christmas be one that brings joy and unity in our fallen world and that Your name is known in every corner. I love you, Lord. Amen.

About the Author

Alessandra Velsor

Alessandra (Ally) Velsor has been part of the Calvary Chapel staff since 2009. Because her family owned various restaurants growing up, she determined to do something else and got a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communication. But… never say never…

She served in The Grill at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale for 14 years as a server, restaurant manager, and catering manager. She’s currently serving as the cafe supervisor in the Plantation campus. She met her husband, Kenny, working at The Grill and married him in 2011. They have two amazing children Joshua and Sunny.