Let us continue on Christ’s humiliation. We will look at His exaltation. Remember He was in glory, he had an exalted position. Then He came in humiliation as a human being. Then He is exalted again as we see. Isaiah prophesied 700 years earlier concerning the humiliation of Christ. Isaiah 53 says, “There was no beauty that we should desire of him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief,… rejected and we did not esteem Him, He was oppressed and He was afflicted, he was led as lamb to the slaughter….” (I just highlighted some). He said in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done.” (John 22:42)
Philippians 2:5-11 tells us that the early Christians demonstrated how the Man Jesus humbled Himself even to the point of death, the death of the cross. It gives us an example to follow Him in the area of humility and obedience. That is why Paul said in Phil.2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Furthermore Paul said, “ 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,
Paul declared forcefully that Jesus “being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.” (v.6) In simple terms, Jesus did not regard the glory that He enjoyed with the Father and the Spirit from all eternity as something to be guarded jealousy and to hold fast or to forcefully cling to that exalted position. But rather He voluntarily, willingly, laid aside that exalted position. He was willing to empty Himself and make Himself “of no reputation.” (v.7a).
J. I. Packer, a great theologian who wrote many books on theology, said: “The incarnation is in itself an unfathomable mystery, but it makes sense of everything else that the NT contains.” When we say that His human nature is truly human. It means just like us, but sinless. He was thirsty, hungry, tired, and needed sleep etc.
Yes, He left His glory, his privilege and exalted position. In the incarnation He made Himself of “no reputation.” What does it mean? He allowed His divine, exalted standing to be subjected to human hostility, persecution, criticism, denial and betrayal. Verse 7b says “He took the form of a bond-servant and came in the likeness of a man.”
It is awesome enough that Christ came as a Man, but it is also amazing to think that He came as a slave. Being a slave has no exaltation, no honour, no dignity at all. That is what happened on the way to Mt Calvary as He carried the cross. On that condition the Kenotic hymn says, “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (v.8). Obedience to the Father was the secret of His exaltation.
As believers in Christ, we must be obedient and faithful to the truths of this important doctrine-about Jesus incarnation, becoming a Man. But also His eternal Deity. He is a true God and a true Man. True historic Christianity can stand the forces of wrong teaching if we truly believe and are faithful to this doctrine and cause. Let us not be carried away by different winds of false doctrine around us.
Remember, it is by God’s grace that we have discovered this truth, and this truth has set us free. Let us enjoy the freedom of His truth and grace. Happy Christmas!