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Christ humbled Himself greatly

also known as: the humiliation of Christ

Artists conception of Jesus Christ with crown of thorns. Copyrighted. God’s Story. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Creator of the cosmos (John 1:1-3). As God, he is all-powerful and all-knowing. Yet, so great is his love for us, his creations, that he chose to humble Himself greatly for our sake.

…in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. —Philippians 2:8 NASB

Jesus Christ’s humble approach to mankind is seen in…

  1. HIS HUMBLE BIRTH (Galatians 4:4)

    …she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. —Luke 2:7 NASB

    He chose not to be born in wealth and prestige, but among commoners in anonymity in a place of little importance, knowing the king would attempt to murder Him as child. His early childhood was in hiding in a foreign pagan land (Egypt). His early years were lived in an area of poverty and poor reputation (Nazareth).

    Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”… —John 1:46 NASB

    • What are some of the most common misconceptions about Jesus Christ’s birth? Answer

  2. HIS PURPOSE. He came to Earth to be a sacrificial lamb to pay for our sins (John 1:29).

  3. HIS HUMBLE CIRCUMSTANCES THROUGHOUT HIS LIFE—a humble carpenter, owned no house, no (known) Earthly belongings except the clothes on His back and the sandals on His feet, no wagon, chariot, horse or even a donkey of his own—traveling from place to place on foot—dependent on the charity of others

    When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem; and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”] And they went on to another village.

    As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” —Luke 9:51-58 NASB

  4. Artist’s conception of Jesus being struck. Copyrighted. God’s Story.

    Christ’s attackers mocked, “Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?” (Matthew 26:68)

    God suffered much to become flesh and walk among us. He was all-powerful, but He rarely did anything to protect Himself. He humbled Himself for our sake. Read “God’s Story” from the beginning

    HIS REPUTATION. As the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, He fully deserved the greatest glory, honor and worship, yet He foreknew the terrible (and ironic) ways that most people would actually perceive Him. He was the frequent target of disrespect and false accusations (you’re a blasphemer; you’re a sinner; you’re in league with the devil, etc.). He was rejected and despised (Messianic prophecy: Psalms 22:6). He endured an astounding lack of appreciation of His goodness and His true nature. For trying to profoundly help people, He was physically and verbally attacked, and eventually executed on false charges (Messianic prophecy: Isaiah 53).

    And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. —Luke 4:28-29 NASB

    Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy —Matthew 26:65 NASB

    Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus… —Matthew 26:59 NASB

    …they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him… —Matthew 26:67 NASB

  5. HIS SOUL—subject to repeated temptations by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11), suffering mental and physical agony prior to His greatest sacrifice, forsaken by the Father as He took on the sins of the world

    For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. —Hebrews 4:15 NASB

    And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. —Luke 22:44 NASB

    See: Did Jesus really sweat drops of blood?

    At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” —Mark 15:34 NASB

    Compare the Messianic prophecy of Psalms 22:1

    Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. —Hebrews 2:17-18 NASB

  6. HIS DEATH—at the hand of sinners, publicly displayed—beaten, torn, naked, crucified (Luke 23; John 19; Mark 15:24-25)

    • See: How did Jesus die?

    …Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. —Hebrews 2:9 NASB

  7. HIS BURIAL—not in a great monument, but in a borrowed tomb (Matthew 27:57-58, 60 / compare the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 53:9)

Why was the Son of God so humble?

Why did He not miraculously strike liars mute or bring down fire from the sky on His attackers? Why did He not open the earth to swallow His false accusers? Or change them into clucking chickens? He was not a impotent wimp. He is God. He had all the power necessary to do anything He pleased, plus an army of angels to destroy anyone and any place. See: Destroyers, angels of death

The following event in Christ’s life is instructional. It occurred after His death and resurrection, during the time before His ascension to sit at the right hand of the Father.

When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem; and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. But they [the Samaritan villagers] did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. When His disciples James and John saw this, they said,

“Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”

But He turned and rebuked them, [and said,

“You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”]

And they went on to another village. —Luke 9:51-56 NASB

Christ’s humbleness was necessary to…

  1. Execute the purpose of God

    …this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. —Acts 2:23-24 NASB

    • Compare the Messianic prophecy of Psalms 40:6-8

  2. Fulfill the Old Testament types and Messianic prophecies

    • See: partial list of Messianic prophecies

  3. Satisfy THE LAW, paying for the guilty (as Isaiah 53 prophecies), and obtaining for them eternal redemption

    …not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. —Hebrews 9:12 NASB

    For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. —Hebrews 9:15 NASB

    See: • expiationredeemer • redemption • atonement • reconciliation • justice of God • forgiveness of sin

  4. Show us an example—see: Humility

    For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps… —1 Peter 2:21 NKJV

    For I [Christ] have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. —John 13:15 NKJV

  5. Christ has 2 comings down to Earth. The first was humble. The second will not be so, but rather will be in great power, glory, judgment (on sinners) and reward (of His faithful children). The Messiah will rule as king on the Earth for 1,000 years. See: Millennium.

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