Day 2: Christ’s Humiliation

Philippians 2:5-8
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Yesterday we looked at Ash Wednesday and the practices surrounding it. We saw that what is important is not what we do but what Christ has done. It may be that giving up some food(s) during Lent may help you focus on our Savior and his work, or it may not. Personally, I give up liver, eggplant, and lima beans for Lent (just kidding; I never eat those). But when we talk about Christ’s humiliation, what do we mean? What is involved?

The verses we read today explain what is meant by Christ’s humiliation. As the Westminster Larger Catechism reminds us, “The estate of Christ’s humiliation was that low condition, wherein he for our sakes, emptying himself of his glory, took upon him the form of a servant, in his conception and birth, life, death, and after his death, until his resurrection.” (A46) Amazing! It will take us a few days to consider all that is involved here. Entire libraries could be written about this.

But stop and consider what Christ has done. God becomes man. The creator becomes a creature. The Lord of all becomes a servant. The all-glorious one empties himself of his glory. The one who has given birth to all creation subjects himself to a human birth. The one who gives life to all submits himself to a painful and ignoble death. The voice that cried “Let there be . . .” at creation now cries for mother’s milk and comfort, and then cries, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

And why did he do this? “For our sakes”. Truly, we cannot understand the depths of love our Savior showed, the heights of love that he has for his children. But we can praise him, and love him, and honor and serve and worship him. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Honestly, I simply do not have the words to explain, or the mind to understand what our Lord has done. Better to simply fall at his feet in adoration and wonder, and to gratefully proclaim:

All praise to Thee, eternal Lord,
Clothed in a garb of flesh and blood;
Choosing a manger for Thy throne,
While worlds on worlds are Thine alone. (Martin Luther)

He left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race;
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me. (Charles Wesley)