The humility of Christ (1)
It is God’s intention that we become more and more conformed to the image of His Son. We have received the life of Christ and now this life should become visible through us. As Paul writes: “...that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body” (2 Cor 4:10).
How does that come about? When we comtemplate the glory of Christ! As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:18. “But we all, looking on the glory of the Lord, with unveiled face, are transformed according to the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit.”
This is what we are going to do now. We will study the humility of Christ who said: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29).
In order to do this we first of all need to define what humility is. That’s not easy. Because humility can be expressed in different ways. I’d like to show you 5 aspects of humility and we are going to see how they became visible in the life of Christ.
1. Humility is the state of a lowly heart. It is expressed by taking the place of a servant. The opposite of humility is self-exaltation.
When we study the Word of God and the moral glory of Christ it is sometimes helpful to look at contrasts. For example, Satan stands in direct contrast to Christ. The devil was dissatisfied with the position that he had. He wanted to exalt himself to become like God. In contrast to this we see Jesus who is God but was willing to humble himself and to become lower than the angels.
In Philippians 2:5 Paul gives us a very important exhortation: “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.” After this statement Paul explains us the mind of Christ and says: “who, subsisting in the form of God, did not esteem it an object of rapine to be on an equality with God; but emptied himself, taking a bondman's form, taking his place in the likeness of men; and having been found in figure as a man, humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, and that the death of the cross” (Phil 2:6-8).
Here we find Christ in contrast to Adam. Adam in paradise wanted to be like God. He wanted to rob something that didn’t belong to him - divinity. But Christ was God. He didn’t have to rob something to become God. He is the one who is worshipped by the Seraphim who cry out in Iaisah 6: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts." Christ had the highest position that we can imagine. But in contrast to Adam Christ was willing to humble Himself.
He wanted to lay things aside and to become lower and lower and lower. He was always God and he never ceased to be God. But He layed aside the outside glory of His divinity. The Seraphim had to cover their faces because they were not able to behold the majesty and splendor of His person. Would He have entered this world with the outward glory that is presented in Isaiah 6 no man would have been able to live in His presence. As God said to Moses: “You cannot see my face; for Man shall not see me, and live” (Ex 33:20).
He took the form of a bondman. That means He became a servant - and that’s what He will be forever. He is the servant of the LORD as we see in Isaiah 42. The Lord of glory came under the coat of a servant into this world. We can compare this to a five star general who wants to visit a slum area. For the visit he takes of his uniform with all his awards. He remains the five star general but from the outside it is not visible anymore.
The eternal, transcendant and almighty God became a man. What a miracle! He took part of flesh and blood and willingly submitted to human limitations and weaknesses such as hunger, thirst, tiredness, exhaustion, loneliness and restrictions of movement. He really emptied Himself. He made Himself nothing compared to what He was on the throne in Isaiah 6. We are nothing by definition: Just dust and ashes as Abraham puts it.
How can you get a deeper impression of the moral glory of Christ? What causes you to worship Him when you think about His life? What can you learn for your life of faith when you consider the words of Philippians 2:6-8?
Article series: The humility of ChristThe humility of Christ (2)
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