“…He humbled Himself…”
Philippians 2:8 (NIV)
Only in light of our Lord’s eternal glory can we properly appreciate the impact of how remarkable this action was. Perhaps the most telling moment apart from the cross is seen in John 13 where John describes our beloved Saviour stooping to wash the disciples’ feet. Also, we clearly see Jesus in Luke’s gospel associating with and observing the poor (the widow giving two mites to the temple treasury (Luke 21), the distraught John the Baptist’s confusion in prison about Jesus’ identity (Luke 7), the thief on the cross (Luke 23). One assessment of our Lord’s earthly ministry that I especially love is that ordinary people especially loved to listen to Jesus (Mark 12:37). So, people like ourselves sought out our Lord and listened carefully when He spoke.
So, the common people sought out the humble Son of God to both hear Him and to ask Him for help. Also, Jesus actively sought out people to bless them. In Luke 7 we see Jesus stopping a funeral procession to raise a man from the dead who was the only son of a widow (Luke 7). He invited Himself to the home of the hated publican Zacchaeus (Luke 19). So, our Lord is still seeking out everyday, even socially unacceptable people to make them into new people who shall share eternal blessings with Him.
When we turn to the cross, we are on sacred ground indeed. Almost one third of all the Gospel material records the last few days leading up to and including our Lord’s execution. That clearly tells us that the degradation, the remarkably dreadful shame endured by our Lord, is beyond that of any person in history (Isaiah 52:13-53:10).
But He saw all of His suffering and was content because of the results of this terrible shame. Jesus “endured the cross despising the shame…” Heb. 12:2. The short term humiliation was experienced by Jesus in order for Him to have the eternal joy of being with His beloved people.
For all eternity He will bear the marks of His death for us. As the hymn writer A. Toplady wrote:
My name from the palms of His hands eternity will not erase,
Impressed on His heart it remains in marks of indelible grace.
Today may you find joy and encouragement in the knowledge that your Saviour was willing to endure such unspeakable humiliation because of His profound love for you.
See from His head His hands His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ere such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?