Glory and Humiliation of Christ
I read it somewhere that the great philosopher Socrates was longing to see god (s) in human form. Whoever this god was - this was the desire of his heart. Historic Christianity tells us that God in the Person of Jesus came upon this earth. We are so much blessed for we know that God came in human flesh to reach out to us. This is what we mean by “incarnation,” God coming in the flesh.
In the introduction of John’s Gospel, in 1:1-18 it opens to us a great and powerful truth. Jn.1:1a it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” Then observe very carefully the second part of the verse, it says that they are the same: “The Word was God.”(1:1b). As John ends his prologue he said in verse 14 “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” It is clear that the Son did not undergo a sudden transformation into a man. His “body was prepared” according to the Hebrews account. It was planned long time ago in eternity’s past.
Philippians 2:5-11 is a powerful hymn. The early Christians loved to sing. There is a Greek word called “kenosis” which literally means “an emptying.” The passage is known in church history as the “Kenotic Hymn” because it declares the “Incarnation of the Son of God.” This short hymn has a profound theology. One theologian suggests, that it is probable, that this was not Paul’s original words, but the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to include this hymn in his letter to the Philippian church.
As a part of their worship, the early Christians could see that Jesus emptied Himself. This gives them an idea of the transition Jesus had undergone by leaving His exalted position in glory and becoming a human being on earth.
Verses 5-8 say :“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 bond-servant, 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.” This is first part of the song.
We find that in the life of Jesus there is a distinct pattern of glory and humiliation. By entering into human flesh, Jesus underwent a profound humiliation. Even before he was born there was humiliation-there was no room in the Inn for Jesus. Therefore Jesus was born in the utter humiliation at a stable, where there were animals. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. He was not born in a hospital. Then there was also the threat to kill all the babies below two years old. In Bethlehem we saw this picture or painting entitled the Massacre of the Innocents.” Babies were killed according to Herod’s command.
Throughout His life and ministry, the humiliation got deeper and deeper as you read the Gospels story. Then finally the total suffering, pain and humiliation of the cross.
Philippians2:8b says, “… He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” His birth was just the beginning, we should not stop at the ‘station of Gethsemane,’ but proceed to our journey of discovery to the cross and resurrection.
There we would discover the riches of His grace, mercy and love for us. There on the cross the wrath, the punishment, the justice, the forgiveness and the love of God were funneled, blended together into one. There is no other place in the whole wide world where you can find such blending.
That is why salvation is something no human being deserves. But God out of His grace gives it to us freely. Take it! It is free! Happy Christmas!