Man was added to Him, God not lost to Him; He emptied Himself not by losing what He was, but by taking to Him what He was not.
From His possession of this “mind,” and in indescribable generosity He looked at the things of others, and descended with His splendor eclipsed – appeared not as a God in glory, but clothed in flesh; not in royal robes, but in the dress of a village youth; not as Deity in fire, but a man in tears; not in a palace, but in a manger; not with a thunderbolt in His hand, but with the hatchet and hammer of a Galilean mechanic.
Does God ask us to do what is beneath us? This question will never trouble us again if we consider the Lord of heaven taking a towel and washing feet.
It is by far the most amazing miracle in the whole Bible – far more amazing than the resurrection and more amazing than the creation of the universe. The fact that the infinite, omnipotent, eternal Son of God could become man and join Himself to a human nature forever, so that infinite God became one person with finite man, will remain for eternity the most profound miracle and the most profound mystery in all the universe.
The heart of the Adamic temptation was to grasp for equality with God (Gen. 3:5). Adam attempted to seize equality with God; Christ did not. By contrast Christ chose the way of self-emptying rather than self-aggrandizement.
[He] is not proud… He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him.
We see Him humiliated and yet majestic. We see Him suffering and yet exalted. We see Him punished and yet innocent. We see Him hated and yet loving. We see Him subjected and yet sovereign.
The Final Passover, the First Communion. The sermon originally appeared at: (https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/42-269/the-final-passover-the-first-communion) at www.gty.org. © 1969-2008. Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by Permission.
Christ is the humility of God embodied in human nature; the Eternal Love humbling itself, clothing itself in the garb of meekness and gentleness, to win and serve and save us.
There is an infinite distance between God and His creatures, and it is an act of sheer grace for Him to take notice of earthly things. Christ, as God, is completely self-sufficient in His own eternal blessedness. How great, then, is the glory of His self-humiliation in taking our nature that He might bring us to God! Such humiliation was not forced on Him; He freely chose to do it.
Because we children of Adam want to become great, He became small. Because we will not stoop, He humbled Himself. Because we want to rule, He came to serve.
Yet what we as Christians see when we look to the cross is not weakness, but power on display. The power to willingly suffer for the sake of another. The power to hold back wrath when being mocked. The power to rise from the dead. And how was Jesus’ power demonstrated? In meekness, gentleness and humility. And the reason opponents don’t see it in Christ’s servants as a sign of greatness is probably because they’ve never seen it in Jesus.
Consider the irony. At a certain point in time the One who was creator, would actually become part of His creation. The sustainer of the world would be killed by the hands He was sustaining. The One who was loved by the Father, would be predetermined to be rejected by the Father. The One who knew no sin, would become sin. And the One predestined to die for sinners, would be predestined before there ever was sin. First Peter 1:20, says He “has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” The One who needs nothing, would come to the aid of those who hated Him and purchase a people for Himself.
He stripped off first one robe of honor and then another until, naked, He was fastened to the cross. There He emptied His inmost self, pouring out His lifeblood, giving Himself for all of us. Finally, they laid Him in a borrowed grave. How low was our dear Redeemer brought! How then, can we be proud? Stand at the foot of the cross and count the scarlet drops by which you have been cleansed. See the thorny crown and His scourged shoulders still gushing with the crimson flow of blood. See His hands and feet given up to the rough iron, and His whole self mocked and scorned. See the bitterness, the pangs, and the throes of inward grief show themselves in His outward frame. Hear the chilling shriek, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). If you are not humbled in the presence of Jesus, you do not know Him. You were so lost that nothing could save you but the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son. As Jesus stooped for you, bow in humility at His feet. A realization of Christ’s amazing love has a greater tendency to humble us than even a consciousness of our own guilt. Pride cannot live beneath the cross. Let us sit there and learn our lesson. Then let us rise and carry it into practice.
Emmanuel. God with us. He who resided in Heaven, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, willingly descended into our world. He breathed our air, felt our pain, knew our sorrows, and died for our sins. He didn’t come to frighten us, but to show us the way to warmth and safety.
He is the King of kings, the radiance of His glory, the Lord of the spaceless, fabulous, infinite universe, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, unspeakable holy, dwelling in light, unapproachable, changeless … and yet He condescended to be enclosed in lowly human flesh, to be born a despised Judean, in a filthy stable, in the womb of a simple Israeli woman and without fanfare or pomp.
The kenosis was a self-renunciation, not an emptying Himself of deity. Nor was it an exchange of deity for humanity. Jesus never ceased to be God during any part of His earthly ministry. He did set aside His heavenly glory. He also voluntarily refrained from using His divinity to make His way easier. During His earthly ministry, Christ completely submitted Himself to the will of the Father.