“He Humbled Himself…” (Phil. 2:8)
It’s difficult to comprehend the magnitude of what’s written above…
The great, eternal Son of God humbled Himself?
He was in eternal, joyful communion with the Father and Holy Spirit for all of all eternity. Ever since the angelic hosts were created, He received and enjoyed their worship. He benevolently reigned over all creation since there had been a creation, and then, when the fullness of time had come, He added humanity to His Deity, was born of a woman under the Law.
That, in itself, is quite the condescension!
However, His condescension did not stop with simply taking on human likeness, He “became obedient…”
Think about that…
The God who never had to take an order from anyone, especially the very beings He created, would now have to honor His earthly parents. The God who is omnipotent and omniscient, who reigned (and reigns) over the entire universe would now learn the humble trade of carpentry and receive instruction from another person as he “grew in wisdom and in stature.” The eternal Son would have to learn what it felt like to obey His eternal Father while patiently enduring suffering…
As it is written, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).
No one ‘twisted His arm’ to do this.
No one persuaded God the Son against His will.
The Father and Holy Spirit did not vote “yes” to the incarnation while the Son voted “no” or “abstained”; this plan was the perfect plan of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
And so, “He humbled Himself”…. and suffered… “to the point of death.”
If there was one human experience that every human being would love to forego, it’s death. Yet, the One who has life in Himself, would join Himself to a human nature wherein He would experience dying…
He was humble in that He only died because He took upon Himself our sins…
He had no sin.
He knew no sin.
Neither was deceit found in His mouth.
And as though that wasn’t enough, Paul adds the last part for an important emphasis…
“even death on a cross”
If you were a Jew you knew that anyone who hung on a tree was considered cursed by God.
If you were a Roman you knew this form of execution was so humiliating, so barbaric, that Roman citizens were exempt from such a death penalty.
If you are a Christian, you know that the cross represents the redemption that Christ purchased for you.
You know, as it is written, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having been made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13).
And you know that the great measure of His humiliation is another barometer of His great love that surpasses knowledge.
Our appropriate response, as John wrote,
“Because Jesus Christ laid down His life for us… we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 Jn. 3:16)
As we reflect on the humility of Christ, may we be exhorted to worship our humble God; exalting Him who humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on a cross. And may we take the form that He Himself took… a servant; considering ourselves “the least” and “a servant to all” for His glory.