Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8).
When I read this the other day, it hit home that Jesus didn’t think anything of leaving the glory of Heaven and coming to earth to live among His creation. He had no problem setting aside His nature which made Him equal with the Father and taking on the form of sinful man. Why did He do this? 1 John 3:8 tells us why. “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus came to undo the work of the devil which he started in the Garden of Eden when he tempted Eve and succeeded.
Jesus wanted to defeat sin in the flesh because it was through the flesh that sin entered the world. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12). Sin is like an epidemic, a cancer and Jesus is the only One who could completely destroy it. So, He came into the world as an infant, born to a virgin. He lived a simple life, worked as a carpenter before He began His ministry. Throughout His life here on earth, Jesus lived in total obedience to the Father and humbly.
In His humility He defeated the devil in the wilderness, using, not His divine power, but the Word of God to counter each temptation until the enemy had no other choice but to go away. In humility, Jesus allowed the religious leaders and the roman soldiers to mock, spit, strike and humiliate Him. Not once did He complain or call down the angels to help Him. In humility, He carried the cross to the place where they would crucify Him. On the way, women bewailed and lamented Him but He didn’t think about Himself. He foresaw what would befall them and warned them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’ For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?”
I always wondered what Jesus meant by “green wood and dry” and today I learnt that green wood is not used as fuel for fire, whereas, dry wood is perfect for that. And Jesus is represented by the green wood, as the One undeserving of the cruel treatment He was receiving from the people. And the people who were fanning the flames, pushing for Jesus’ crucifixion, after requesting that, Barabbas, a criminal be released, were the dry wood. They were deserving of the Divine judgement that they would one day face. Jesus was telling the women to cry for these people. The people who continually reject Christ and His work on the cross are the ones we ought to mourn for the time will come when they will be judged and will be cast into the lake of fire.
In humility, as He hung on the cross, He asked God to forgive the very people who wanted Him dead. He was dying for them too. The cross is where we ought to go when we find it hard to forgive those who hurt and humiliate and mistreat us. In humility we realize that Jesus hanging on the cross in our place is what made it possible for God to forgive us too. We too are responsible for Jesus becoming a curse for us. Humility is about acknowledging that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory and that we have a Saviour who thought nothing of emptying Himself.
In humility, Jesus thought nothing of the shame of the manner of His death, endured the cross, because of the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). He wasn’t thinking about the shame but the salvation that would be offered to all those who accepted His ultimate sacrifice. Through His death, many would receive life eternal. And through His death and resurrection, many would have the same victory over sin and death.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for humbling Yourself and becoming one of us so that You could defeat sin and death. Sin had separated us from our Father but Your death on the cross, reconciled us to Him. We will never be able to repay the debt You paid with Your precious blood. We can honour You by loving others and sharing the Good News about what You did for them on the cross.
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).