Taking the Form of a Servant
How Christ's Humiliation Teaches Us to Love One Another
As we continue to walk through the Larger Catechism one of the blessings of God’s grace that we see in them is the way in which our Lord has provided for us in His life, death, and resurrection to be strengthened by Him and through Him Alone. Every part of the Christian life is what it is because Jesus is the foundation of faith and the source of our obedience to His word. Whenever we start to talk about the things Christ did in His earthly life it is important for us to remember that there were no wasted movements, words, and actions as He walked and talked for three solid years. Each thing Jesus did in His ministry was for a purpose that had long-standing implications for His mission and for the future of His Church. A key aspect of this for today’s study is His coming to this world from Heaven itself.
The monumental work of the Son of God taking on flesh, the Second Person of the Trinity becoming man is a rich place for us to go in helping us to see more clearly, and worship more distinctly and openly and less selfishly as we put ourselves last, and Christ first. Here are the Q/A’s for this week:
Q. 46. What was the estate of Christ’s humiliation?
A. The estate of Christ’s humiliation was that low condition, wherein he for our sakes, emptying himself of His glory, took upon him the form of a servant, in his conception and birth, life, death, and after his death, until his resurrection.
Q. 47. How did Christ humble himself in his conception and birth?
A. Christ humbled himself in his conception and birth, in that, being from all eternity the Son of God, in the bosom of the Father, he was pleased in the fulness of time to become the son of man, made of a woman of low estate, and to be born of her; with divers circumstances of more than ordinary abasement.t
Q. 48. How did Christ humble himself in his life?
A. Christ humbled himself in his life, subjecting himself to the law, which he perfectly fulfilled; and by conflicting with the indignities of the world, temptations of Satan, and infirmities in his flesh, whether common to the nature of man, or particularly accompanying that his low condition.
Q 49. How did Christ humble himself in his death?
A. Christ humbled himself in his death, in that having been betrayed by Judas, forsaken by his disciples, scorned and rejected by the world, condemned by Pilate, and tormented by his persecutors; having also conflicted with the terrors of death, and the powers of darkness, felt and borne the weight of God’s wrath, he laid down his life an offering for sin, enduring the painful, shameful, and cursed death of the cross.
Q 50. Wherein consisted Christ’s humiliation after his death?
A. Christ’s humiliation after his death consisted in his being buried, and continuation in the state of the dead and under the power of death till the third day; which hath been otherwise expressed in these words. He descended into hell.
We’re obviously not going to be able to in-depth cover all that in a 1,000 words (which is how long this usually is). Yet, there is a sense in which we don’t need to because the authors of the WLC have done such a wonderful job of explaining what they mean within the question and answers. So take a moment to read them carefully, it will definitely be time well spent.
The above stroll through the life Jesus reminds us of at least two things practically we can apply to our own travels on this mortal coil. First, in the example of our Redeemer we see how we are to respond to interpersonal conflict. Christ never uses His divinity to bring wrath upon those who mock, cajole, and gaslight Him. As He teaches in Matthew 5:44, “I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” He knows that they will have their reward. It is something the Apostle Paul picks up on in Romans 12:20 when he quotes from Proverbs 12:20-21, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Second, there is a testimony to how we persevere in the face of trial. Jesus was in conflict with the “…indignities of this world…”, which means that He had to deal with everything from the DMV of Galilee to His own disciples turning against Him. How did Christ respond to such? Well, in every way that He did, He did not presume His own, but showed mercy and grace. That does not mean of course Jesus allowed Himself to be a speed bump. He was forthright when it was time to be so, regardless of the way those being rude would react to it. Yet even in so doing He relied upon the promise of His Father (walking through the crowd that wanted to kill Him in Nazareth) and the weapons of the Spirit (praying for those crucifying Him). Seeking intercession for those who persecute you is not a passive-aggressive bless your heart. It is an honest desiring that people who mean evil would be rightly convicted of their sin, confess it, and understand what they are doing so that they no longer engage in that behavior.
Not for our benefit, but for theirs.
That’s the thing about the humiliation of Christ that we probably need to learn more about than anything else. Our natural man within us is very selfish and self-indulgent. We need to be on guard at all times to put to death the inclination to seek our own above that of others, especially when it comes to the difficulties of sinful men and women working together for God’s purposes. We may not always realize how we come off. But if our heart’s goal is to put the Lord’s will above all things we have the assurance that it will all come out in the wash. Trust in the ways of the Creator of Heaven and Earth and it shall be done unto you as He has commanded.
A little more this morning:
Blessings in Christ,
Rev. Benjamin Glaser
Pastor, Bethany ARP Church
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