Sample Chapter 7
The Most Humiliated Man
It is true that Christ is the most exalted person, but He is also the most humiliated man. “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). These words came out of the very mouth of Jesus, while speaking to the multitude and His disciples in Jerusalem. Was Christ the most humiliated man that ever lived on the face of the earth? Is He not the Son of God who came into this world, to purchase redemption for mankind by laying down His life? Truly He is the Son of God, in fact the most exalted person in heaven and earth. But, behind the exalted Christ, we can see a humiliated Christ. The Apostle Paul gives us a good description of the humiliation and exaltation of Christ in Philippians 2:5-11, which we will discuss to some extent in this chapter. Paul is urging us to have the same mind that was also in Christ. Now, the mind of Christ is described in the four Gospels—a mind which is perfect in all its virtues, a mind which is also compassionate, humble, loving, caring, and above all sinless.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11).
The Eternal Existence of God
“Who being in the form of God…” Paul points out to us the eternal existence of God. The person inferred here is the second person of the Trinity. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). So, Christ is truly the Son of God, who is eternal and self-existing. His deity is introduced here only to magnify His grace and selfhumiliation. He was in the form of God; that is, He was full of glory and splendor. No one has seen God as He is. Even the angelic beings tremble before Him and surely man in his sinful condition can never approach God. His face is so radiant that we cannot behold Him, His voice is like the sound of many waters that we cannot hear Him, He is so mighty that we dare not stand before Him in our own strength, and so holy that we cannot approach Him. We have such an awesome God!
If Christ is God, How can He also be a Man?
Christ emptied Himself and became a man. Only God could make such a stoop because man is limited to his form of existence. This is a beautiful exhibition of divine love. When He became a man, did He cease being God and exist just as a mere man? Absolutely not! His emptying Himself only applied to His form of existence and not His very being. The essential being of Godhead cannot change. He changed His form of existence according to His sovereign will. He laid down everything except His divine attributes, which He displayed, so wonderfully, to mankind.
The Bible says that God is Spirit. Christ changed His form of existence from a Spirit being and manifested Himself in a bodily form, perfectly identifying Himself with mankind. “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…” (I Timothy 3:16). “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of the flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same…” (Hebrews 2:14). The Lord Jesus was not a deified man; He was God-Man, in which His Deity and Humanity were perfectly united in one person. Christ—the Son of God is His heavenly name and Jesus—the Son of Man is His earthly name.
Christ made Himself of no reputation. He did not take advantage of His Divine nature when He lived as a man. Every miracle He performed, every word He spoke, and every step He took was in the perfect will of His Father. “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). He did not do anything out of His own will, but perfectly fulfilled His Father’s will.
If Christ is God, Why did He Become a Bondservant?
He took “the form of a servant,” and that of a bondservant. The Master became a servant. This He did out of His own voluntary will. “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:9). Why did such a mighty God become a servant, and that of man? He came to redeem us from our sinful nature and impart to us His divine nature. “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). By taking upon Himself the form of a servant, He displayed His human nature. This was displayed vividly when He girded Himself with a towel and began to wash the disciples’ feet. Did He not even wash the feet of Judas, who Jesus knew was going to betray Him for thirty pieces of silver? Do we have a mind of servitude?
If Christ is God, Why did He Die on the Cross?
“He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). As God, He emptied Himself, as man, He humbled Himself. The life of Lord Jesus was a life of humiliation and disgrace. He was obedient to the point of death. His death was not a mere physical death, which is the outcome of sin; but a sacrificial death, where He voluntarily took upon Himself the judgment of God for man’s sin. “Even the death of the cross” is included to bring out the full character of His humiliation. Crucifixion was chosen as His means of punishment, not because the Jewish leaders or Pilate decided so, but in the foreknowledge of God it was the most humiliating, cursed, painful, and shameful death. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’)” (Galatians 3:13). If Lord Jesus were to come into this world in this present age as a sacrificial lamb, He would probably receive a favorable verdict. Hence, it was crucial that the Father sent His Son in that point of time when crucifixion was still prevalent.
The Cross Reveals Our Sinful Nature
At the cross, sin was revealed as never before or since. Sin in men was seen in the trials, scourging, and at Calvary, when He was mocked, derided, and crucified. The Jewish leaders brought upon Jesus injustice and cruelty. The Roman soldiers dealt with Him in coarse brutality. The very criminals who were crucified with Him heaped on Him insults. Even the people who passed by reviled and derided Him, “wagging their heads” (Mark 15:29). No man has ever gone or will go through such humiliation. This is humiliation and disgrace to the lowest depths. When you think of this humiliation, don’t forget who He is, for that is what makes His humiliation standout vividly. He suffered all this because He loved us. At the cross, Jesus paid the price of our redemption and bought us out from the bondage of sin to set us free.
If Christ is God Why did He have to be Exalted?
“Therefore God has highly exalted Him…” He was exalted not because He was the Son of God, but for His self-humiliation. This was a perfect fulfillment of what Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples, when He said, “He who humbles himself will be exalted.” Adam, being man, tried to exalt himself, but Christ, being God, humbled Himself. What a contrast! Many times we try to exalt ourselves, but if we have the slightest hint of what Christ went through, then we will fall down prostrate before our Redeemer, acknowledging our nothingness. God the Father has highly exalted Him, proving that Christ was the most humiliated man; since He suffered the most, He is exalted the most.
Let us, then, humble ourselves before the majesty of God, that the Holy Spirit may conform us to the image of Christ. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (I Peter 5:6). In our Lord and Savior, all was obedience and trust: He came down from the highest heights that He might fill all things (Ephesians 4:9-10). The cross marked the decisive victory of Christ over Satan and sin. There is no devastation brought upon man by sin, which He is not able radically to transform; no sense of superiority, which He cannot clothe with His humility. The Holy Spirit has been given us to reveal to us the love of Christ that He may take of His character and impart to us.
Christ is still gracious and calling you to be partakers of His suffering. But a time is coming when He is going to judge the world and make everyone confess to the glory of the Father that Jesus Christ is Lord. You have to confess that Jesus is Lord. Would not you rather do it now, out of your own will and choice, out of respect and gratitude for what He has done for you on the cross, than do it out of compulsion? Would not you do it now when He is lovingly calling you to His side than when He will be demanding the very same thing out of His wrath?
Think For A Moment…
Examine your life on the basis of this chapter and answer the following questions:
1) Have you ever been humiliated by anyone and how did you respond to it?
2) Why was Christ humiliated by His own people?
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