Christ's Humiliation

This summarizes the main postings on this blog concerning Christ in his state of humiliation.

When a lowly person remains low, that is not humiliation. He was low at the start. When an exalted person is forcibly brought low, that is humiliation, but the person is not necessarily humble. He is humiliated by force, not by his own humility.

Jesus’ humility can be seen in this:
  • Jesus should be exalted,
  • but Jesus was humiliated, and
  • his humiliation was voluntary.

His own humility brought on his humiliation. He volunteered for humiliation to obey and submit to his Father, and to give himself for our salvation. He shamed himself utterly to save us from sin and the wrath of God. He put himself squarely into our sin and the wrath due to us.

Jesus Should Be Exalted

Gospel of the Kingdom
The gospel is the gospel of the kingdom. Seeing the prominence of the kingdom in the gospel prepares us to realize the glory due to Jesus.

King of the Gospel
Jesus is the King of the gospel. Jesus as King had notoriety. As King, Jesus should be exalted. If He was brought low, that would be humiliation.

A Volunteer, Not A Victim

A Volunteer for Humiliation
Jesus was not a victim. Jesus was humiliated because he volunteered to be humiliated. No one forced it on him. Jesus was free, and He was the only man who was free since the fall.

Five Steps of Christ's Humiliation

What steps belong to Christ's humiliation? There are five:
  1. Birth in poverty
  2. Suffering
  3. Crucifixion
  4. Death
  5. Burial
Birth in Poverty  (Step 1)
Jesus had been rich. To make us rich, he chose poverty. When Philip told Nathanael that he had found the King, Jesus was a 30 year old carpenter with nobody parents from a nowhere town with a bad reputation in a land of Gentiles and He owned no property but the clothes he was wearing.

A Holy Man of Sinners  (Step 2 - Life of Suffering)
Jesus was a holy man who took the place of sinners. He had nothing of his own for which to repent. He confessed and repented for us without himself deserving condemnation. He presented his confession and repentance on our behalf to the Father, and the Father credited us with these merits of Christ.

Born Under the Law  (Step 2 - Life of Suffering)
We are prone to think it was easy for Jesus to obey the law because he was God's Son. We tend to think his human nature hardly had any part in it. But Jesus was our Mediator. To mediate, Jesus needed to be under the law in the same way as those He would redeem were under it: as humans. He had to fight from weakness, and He was fighting our battle for us.

Life of Suffering  (Step 2 - Generally)
Jesus experienced physical and soul suffering. There were immediate attempts to kill him beginning when He was an infant. Once He began his public ministry, there were constant conspiracies against his life. There were outright attempts to kill him. He was under condemnation and contempt, ridicule and rejection. He was betrayed, abandoned, and suffered brokenhearted despair, and yet persevered.

What Is it About Kingdoms?  (Step 3 - Crucifixion)
The crucifixion is so cruel, bizarre, and obscene that we could lose focus. We recall that Jesus is King of the gospel. The thing about kingdoms is their glory. Since Jesus was King, glory was right for him. But Jesus turned away from glory to the cross. With this context, we know what the opposite of the cross is: glory. By knowing its opposite, we begin to see the meaning of the cross. Glory or cross, glory or cross.

A Suffering, Shameful King  (Step 3 - Crucifixion)
Satan and Peter tempted Jesus to come into the glory of his kingdom without the cross. Jesus resisted that temptation and set his face toward the cross. The cross means that Jesus was a King without glory. He was a shameful King and a suffering King. The cross is a scandal and an offense. To redeem us and restore his kingdom to sinners, Jesus suffered our shameful sin.

Shaming the King  (Step 3 - Crucifixion)
The story of Jesus’ crucifixion focuses on him as King. It was right for the King to have glory, but Jesus turned away from glory to the cross. Because Jesus showed them no glory, characters in the story would not believe that He was the King, and they shamed him.

Explicit Shame  (Step 3 - Crucifixion)
We look directly at some of the explicit shame of the cross, but only for the purpose of answering, "What does this mean?" The cross is a revelation. The cross speaks. The cross shows the truth about us. It shows what sin does to us and what Jesus did to atone for our sin. We must confess the cross' indictment of us.

Degradation Rituals and Ass Heads  (Step 3 - Crucifixion)
While the physical pains of flogging and crucifixion were excruciating, the point was dishonor and shame. Even judicial trials served a different function than our trials do now. Trials were degradation rituals. The trial was one cog in a machine that ground out shame. As a result, the typical Roman reaction to the preaching of Christ crucified was a continuation of shaming Jesus. One famous example is a graffito showing a foolish Christian worshiping Jesus on the cross with the head of an ass.

Humiliation of Jesus' Death  (Step 4)
For us to die is not humiliation. We already are low in sin. In death, we receive what we justly deserve. For Jesus to die was humiliation. He was holy. Death was not due to him. He deserved the glory of the life that he had in himself.

Bosom, Burial, Banishment  (Step 5 - Burial)
Burial does nothing to our glory. We are dust and sin. Dust and sin have no glory. Jesus was not from dust. He was from heaven. Jesus was holy. In his burial, Jesus was deposed from his throne of glory, down to the lowest pit, adrift among the dead, forgotten by his Father, cut off from his Father’s hand, in darkness and in depths, under his Father’s wrath, and alone.

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