In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Last time I wrote on the subject, we started looking at how Christ was humiliated while on earth to bring salvation to us. This week I want to look at how Jesus was humbled by his conception and birth.
Firstly to understand how humiliating it was for Jesus to be conceived and born as a human, we must understand who Jesus was prior to his conception and birth.
The Bible teaches us that Jesus has existed from all eternity as the Son of God. For all eternity he has been in perfect love with God the Father. Speaking of Jesus as the ‘Word’, the apostle John says: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:1-2, 14).
So to be conceived and born as a human meant Jesus had to leave the Father’s side in heaven and enter into this world with all its sin and suffering – a humiliating experience. It would be like making the Prime Minister of Australia live under a rock in an Australian desert rather than in ‘The Lodge’ in Canberra and in ‘Kirribilli House’ in Sydney. In fact, living under a rock in the desert would be a humbling experience for any of us. Yet this is what Christ did by entering into our world, he was humiliated in ways we cannot imagine. Furthermore, Jesus was not only born in this sinful world, but he was born in impoverished conditions. Jesus was not born the son of a Queen in a royal palace. Instead the Scriptures teach us that Jesus born of a poor young girl who could not even afford proper housing when the time came for his birth. Luke tells us the circumstances of Jesus’ birth: ‘So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn’ (Luke 2:4-7). Jesus was born in a way that we would not wish any of our children to experience. Yet this is the way the Son of God entered into the world.
Thus we can see that the humiliation of Jesus began long before his shameful death on the cross. His incarnation as a human being was the beginning of a life of humiliation.
Why would Jesus humble himself in this way? Because of our sin we deserve to be humiliated for eternity in hell. But thankfully Jesus takes the eternal humility we deserve so we can have eternal glory instead. This eternal glory comes by trusting that Jesus was humiliated for you.
Do you trust in Christ’s humiliation for you so that you will have eternal glory in heaven?
Joel Radford, Preaching Elder.