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.
The above verse is the culmination of a four-verse unveiling Paul gives to us as to the “downward-spiral” of Jesus. Such spiral was not happenstance, but rather Christ’s humiliation was due to His eternal resolve.
He is the “Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world,” as Revelation 13:8 aptly titles Him. It is beyond fathom that such humility was entirely voluntary from Him. It was entirely His own doing— Herod did not humble Him, nor the high priest and the court. Pilate did not humble Him, neither did the Romans. Notice it was Jesus who “humbled Himself.” The humblest man who ever has and does live is Christ Himself–the Son of Man. No other man or woman has even come close to such demonstrated humility.
Three aspects we might want to consider of His loving, tremendous humility:
First, His humility in Heaven. Verse six of this chapter reveals Jesus is absolutely equal with God the Father. Such equality is required in order to be an adequate savior. Yet He willingly let go of such rightful position in order to rescue us.
Second, there was His humility in incarnation–from verse seven,“taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” Jesus fully identified with the human race. Never did He take special privilege, in fact He does just the opposite donning the servant’s towel to wash the feet of men. He truly understands each of us. Hebrews 7 reveals that He sympathizes with our weaknesses and in all points tempted as we are… yet fully without sin!
And finally, there was His humility in death–not simply death itself, but death on the cross. Nothing could be lower. Jesus, who was absolutely without sin, became shame and scandal…sin for us.
Paul writes in II Corinthians 5:21—“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Why did God do this? The verse you are likely familiar with, John 3:16, sums it up well—“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
This is good news!