Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which was also 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 2:4-8
Over the past few days my mind has been continually blown as God is showing me more and more of the humiliation of Christ and what it meant for Him to humble Himself.
We know from the text that He emptied and humbled Himself, but what does that mean?
Notes in the Jerusalem Bible on the verses above give us some keen insight:
“”He emptied Himself”: this is not so much a reference to the fact of the incarnation, as to the way it took place. What Jesus freely gave up was not His divine nature, but the glory to which His divine nature entitled Him, and which had been His before the incarnation, John 17:5, and which “normally” speaking would have been observable in His human body … He voluntarily deprived Himself of this so that it could be returned to Him by the Father after His sacrifice.”
His giving up the glory His divine nature entitled Him seems to me perhaps the most incredible part of His humiliation. He willingly laid aside–voluntarily deprived Himself of–the glory that was rightfully His in order to carry out the will of the Father.
It started with obedience
“He humbled Himself by becoming obedient…”
Elisabeth Elliot put it this way:
“His obedience enabled Him to do anything, anything at all that would please the Father, without thought of “how it would look”. He who had known the ceaseless worship of angels came to be a slave to men. Preaching, teaching, healing the sick and raising the dead were parts of His ministry, of course, and the parts we might consider ourselves willing to do for God if that is what is asked. He could be seen as God in those.
But Jesus also walked miles in the dusty heat. He healed, and people forgot to thank Him. He was pressed and harried by mobs of exigent people, got tired and thirsty and hungry, was “tailed” and watched and pounced upon by suspicious, jealous, self-righteous religious leaders, and in the end was flogged and spat on and stripped and had nailed hammered through His hands.
He relinquished the right (or the honor) of being publicly treated as equal with God.
If you and I were asked to write the job description of a savior, what would go on the list? A careful look at what the will of the Father included for the Savior of the world will give us a clue to what a follower of His might be expected to do.
What was Jesus’ place? A servant. A slave. My bearing toward others arises out of my life in Him.“
Jesus’ spectacular humiliation is completely overwhelming to me.
He, of course, humbled Himself in order to honor the Father, but why did the Father see fit to crush the Son and have Him pour Himself out in such an astonishing and degrading way?
Because it was the only way to reconcile sinners.
He did it all for us. For you. For me.
I am humbled and amazed at this staggering example.
Thank You, Jesus.