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The Humiliation of Christ B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
March 4, 2022 3:00 am

The Humiliation of Christ B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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He came into the world as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, rightful heir to David's throne, as well as God in human flesh, but he had no advantages, he had no privileges in this world.

He came as a servant. Nobody gave him anything. Nobody entrusted him with any treasure. Nobody gave him a home. Nobody gave him animals to ride. Nobody gave him land to call his own. Nobody gave him anything. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur. I'm your host, Phil Johnson.

D.L. Moody once spoke of a pear tree he owned. It was beautifully shaped, pleasant to look at, but never bore any fruit.

But another pear tree, one that wasn't as nice, produced so much fruit that its branches nearly touched the ground. Moody's point, it's not how attractive we are, but how humble we are that matters. If we only get down low enough, God will use every one of us to his glory.

That's what D.L. Moody said. Now certainly no one ever humbled himself more than Christ Jesus himself, taking on the form of a man, leaving for a time privileges that he had from eternity past, and leaving for us a pattern of humility that we should strive for. On today's Grace to You, John MacArthur looks closely at our Lord's model of humility as he continues his message titled The Humiliation of Christ.

And now, here's John with a lesson. Will you open your Bibles for our look at God's precious Word to Philippians chapter 2? Listen to verses 5 through 8 as I read. Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, who although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bondservant and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Please notice verse 7, but emptied himself. The verb empty, kanao, is the verb from which we get that classic theological term, the kenosis, which is what theologians have called the self-emptying or the incarnation, the doctrine of the kenosis, the self-emptying of Christ. Now, what does that mean?

This, of course, has been discussed much. First of all, he gave up his heavenly glory. Another way to look at it is that he covered up his glory, he veiled it.

Secondly, he emptied himself of independent authority. Now, I don't understand how the Trinity operates. I know it operates in perfect harmony, and I know that in perfect harmony there would be no discord and no disagreement, and that would be the way it is in the Trinity. But nonetheless, in some way, mysterious to my mind, which I will never understand, he completely submitted himself to the will of the Father.

I will never understand that, and I don't want you to even think about it too long, or you'll be under the bed, say, in the Greek alphabet, because it does not compute. But the point is he laid aside the voluntary exercise of his own will, and he learned to be a servant, and he submitted himself. And he was obedient, it says in verse 8. He was obedient. I don't understand that, but he was obedient. In the garden, he says, not in my will, but thine be done. He learned obedience by the things he suffered, Hebrews 5 says. He said, I am come to do the Father's will, John 5, 30. So he set aside his independent authority.

Thirdly, he set aside the prerogatives of his deity, or he set aside the voluntary use of his attributes. He said, did he stop being omniscient? No. Did he stop being omnipresent? No. Did he stop being unchangeable God?

No. He didn't stop being anything. He just didn't use those attributes. Some have said he gave up the prerogatives of his deity. I know he was omniscient. He knew everything because he knew it was in the heart of a man, John 2.

I know he was omnipresent because he saw Nathaniel when he wasn't even where Nathaniel was in his human form. He didn't give up any of his deity, but he gave up the free exercise of those attributes and limited himself to the point where in Matthew 24, 36, he says, no man knows when the Son of Man will come, not men and not even the Son of Man. He restricted his omniscience, so he gave up the prerogatives of his deity. Fourthly, and I love to think about this, he gave up his personal riches. He gave up his personal riches. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor. 2 Corinthians 8, 9, that you through his poverty might be made rich. He became terribly poor in this world, terribly poor.

He had nothing, nothing. And then lastly, he gave up a favorable relationship to God. He who knew no sin was made sin for us.

He who knew no sin was made sin for us. And as a result, he says, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? He gave up a favorable relationship to God. Now listen to me. Though he gave up the full expression of his heavenly glory and the full enjoyment of it, though he gave up independent authority and exercise of his own will and learned obedience, though he gave up the prerogatives to express all of the majesty of all of his attributes, which he could have done, by the way, and though he gave up personal riches for the poverty of this world, and though he gave up a favorable relationship with God when he was made sin, listen to me, he never ceased to be God.

Never. He remained fully God. He remained fully God.

At any moment in time, he could have blasted his enemies off the face of the earth with the breath of his mouth, but he didn't. He emptied himself. There's a sense in which he emptied himself not by giving something up alone, but he emptied himself by also taking something on.

That's right. Look at verse 7. He took the form of a bouncer. He gave up something.

We mentioned what they were. And he took on something, the form of a servant. In a sense, his self-giving, his self-emptying, his kenosis was not only by giving up something, but by taking on something, the form of a servant. Notice the word form again. There it is again, morphe, the essence. This is not a cloak.

This is not an outward schema. He literally took on the essence of a servant. By the way, the only other New Testament use of that word morphe is in Mark 16, 12, where Jesus takes on resurrection morphe, the nature of a resurrected body. But here he really became a doulos, a bond slave, and he came to serve God's will and God's purpose and submit to God and therefore submit to the needs of men as well. It goes all the way back to Isaiah 52, 13, and 14, which identifies the coming Messiah as the servant, really the servant, became poor, became a slave. Imagine, he owned everything. But when he came into this world, he was borrowing everything from men, unthinkable. He had to borrow a place to be born and not much of a place at that. He had to borrow a place to lay his head.

He didn't even have a home. Many nights he slept on the Mount of Olives. He had to borrow a boat across the little sea of Galilee. He had to borrow a boat to preach from. He had to borrow an animal to ride into the city when he was being triumphantly welcomed as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He had to borrow a room for the Passover because he didn't even have a house in Jerusalem.

He had to borrow a tomb to be buried in. And the only person who had the right to everything wound up with nothing, became a servant. He came into the world as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, rightful heir to David's throne as well as God in human flesh, but he had no advantages. He had no privileges in this world.

He came as a servant. Nobody gave him anything. Nobody entrusted him with any treasure. Nobody gave him a home. Nobody gave him animals to ride. Nobody gave him land to call his own. Nobody gave him anything. He served everyone. He had no advantages. He had no privileges. This is God.

Do you remember this? This is God. This is the God of the universe we're talking about who made all things. By Him were all things made and without Him was not anything made that was made. And of Him and through Him and to Him are all things and yet He has nothing.

Then He came down another step. It says in verse 7, and being made in the likeness of men. He was just like men. He was given the essential attributes of humanity. He was homo mati.

He was homogeneous to men is kind of the idea. He became men, truly human, really human. He didn't stop being God.

And He didn't take on some body. He isn't God in a body. He is God-man and man is more than a body.

All of the essence of humanity body, soul, mind, truly human. That's why in Luke 2 52, it says He grew in wisdom and stature. He was growing as a human. Colossians 1 verse 22, it says, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body. He had a body like your body, a fleshly body.

He's not a phantom, a real body. In Galatians 4, it says He was made of a woman, made under the law. In Hebrews chapter 2 verse 14, since then the children share in flesh and blood. He Himself likewise also partook of the same, the same flesh and blood that we have. And I don't want you to be confused by this, that when He came into the world, He came in and the flesh that He took on was normal human flesh that felt all the effects of the fall. It was not a kind of pre-fall humanity like Adam's, but a post-fall humanity in the sense that it could know sorrow and tears and crying and suffering and pain and thirst and hunger and death. And death can only touch humanity that is touched by the fall already. So He felt the effects of the fall without ever knowing or experiencing or touching the sin in the fall. Hebrews says He partook the same as the children who take flesh and blood. He was made like His brethren in all things. Hebrews 2.17, in all things.

Why? That He might become a merciful and faithful high priest. How is He going to know what we feel unless He's felt what we feel? And if He feels it in an unfallen humanity, He won't feel it because it isn't there. He was human in the sense that He experienced all the tests and temptations of men. And that's why He's such a faithful and understanding high priest. Yet He never sinned.

Hebrews 4.15, yet without sin, never sinned, couldn't sin because God can't sin. He came down all the way down, took on Him the form of a servant, a slave, and was made in the likeness of men. Verse 8 takes us a step further. And being found in appearance as a man, I just look at this statement and I keep mulling it over in my mind. At first you think, well, isn't that a repeat of the end of verse 7, made in the likeness of men?

But it isn't. It says that He was discovered to appear as a man. And now it looks at its humiliation from the viewpoint of the people who saw Him.

Yes, He is God, man. But as people viewed Him, they saw Him in the appearance of a man. And the word here is schemati from schema, the outward form to them was a man. They looked at the outward form and they saw a man.

And that's right. They would see Him as a man. But there was so much more that they didn't see.

And I think that's implied here. That's part of His humiliation. He came all the way down to be the God man, but they never saw the God part. They looked at Him and His appearance was a man.

And the schema of a man was all they saw. Beloved, it would have been one thing for God to become man. That is humbling enough. But for God to become man and man to think He is only man is indeed a humbling thing.

That's humiliating. And He did all the works and He said all the words, performed all the miracles, and they said that this man has a demon. And the Jews said, we know this man. We know his mother and father. We know where he's from and where does he come off saying, I came down from heaven.

Where does he get that? They just saw him as a man. That was so humiliating. Their minds were darkened by sin. They recognized his humanity. They missed his deity. They didn't know who he was. They didn't know who he was. How humbling.

Here he is, God in human flesh, King of Kings, the regal, royal, majestic King of the universe. And they don't even know it. And they treat him not only like man, but the worst of men. They treat him like a criminal. Well, did you say, did he fight back? No, he went down even lower. Verse 8, he humbled himself. He humbled himself under that treatment. He was already humiliated. It would have been enough for him to just be willing not to clutch his rights, but then to empty himself of the exercise of those things and then to come all the way down to be a bondservant who was a king and then to be made exactly like human beings to suffer everything they suffer and feel everything they feel except sin. And then to be seen only as a man would have been enough, but by then you would have screamed and said, I want my rights. That's enough. Do you know who I am?

And you would have blown over a tall building or something or created something, fought back. No, he humbled himself. He just went down another level. Look at him at his trial. The humiliation is absolutely unbelievable. And the thing that amazes you in this humiliation is that he answers never a word.

And finally he admits who he is when he's asked and he says, you said it. Utter humiliation. They are mocking him. They are punching him. They are pulling out his beard.

They are treating him like scum. And he is God. And he doesn't say a word.

And they pass him from mock trial phase to phase. He doesn't say anything. And he accepts it.

And he doesn't demand his rights. Oh my, what a picture of humility that is. He humbled himself. He went even lower.

How low did he go? Verse 8 says, by becoming obedient to the point of death. Now, somewhere short of that you would think he would have said, stop. That's enough. Somewhere in the middle of that trial you would have assumed that he would have blasted them with fire from his mouth and consumed the whole rotten bunch. But he doesn't. Somewhere when he's being mocked and dragged half naked through the city of Jerusalem with a cross on his back, you would have thought that he would have stopped and said, halt. That is enough.

You are not worth this effort. I demand for you to know who I am. But he doesn't. Somewhere on the cross you would have thought he would have screamed out who he was. But he never says it.

Never. He was obedient to the point of death. All the way down to the muck and the slime and the ooze of the deep, dark places in order that he might bring us up to the color again. And says Paul, not just death, but the last statement, even death on a cross. The word even calls attention to the shocking feature of Christ's ultimate humiliation. This is the bottom.

This is the end of the line. Not just death, but even death on a cross. Crucifixion, excruciating, embarrassing, degrading, painful, humiliating, cruel, devised originally by the Persians and perfected by the Romans. It was only fit for a slave and the worst riff-raff among the criminals. The Jews hated it because they remembered Deuteronomy 21, 22, which said, cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree. Paul quotes that in Galatians 3. They hated it.

They despised it. This is the ultimate inhuman degradation, hanging in the sky, stark naked as it were, before the watching world with nails driven through your hands and feet, the mocking object. There he is. This is God.

This is the God who created the universe. Somewhere along the path down, you'd think he'd say to himself, you know, these people aren't worth redeeming. This is too degrading.

This is too humiliating. This is what he did. That's the grace of God. That's the love of God for sinners. And he did it to die for you and die for me. This is an amazing plan, is it not?

This is a plan that no man would have devised. Is it any wonder when the Apostle Paul looks at salvation? Not from the historical perspective here, but from the doctrinal perspective. And for 11 chapters in Romans, he shows how God became man and died and rose again to provide salvation.

And at the end of it all, in Romans 11, 33, he says, oh, how unsearchable are your judgments and your ways past finding out. He's literally in awe. God, what a plan. Who would have ever dreamed of this? Who would have imagined that God would do that? Now, if we had planned it, we would have sent him to a palace. And we would have had him born into wealth and a prominent family. And we would have had him educated in the finest universities with all the most elite teachers and the finest tutors exposed to the very best of human wisdom and information. If we had orchestrated God coming into this world, we would have made sure everybody loved him and revered him and honored him and respected him. And we would have made sure he was in all the prominent places, meeting all the prominent people.

And we would have been sure that there was a public relations campaign to end all, to promote great affection for him. We certainly would never have let him be born in a stable. And we would never have let him be born to a family in poverty.

We would never have let him spend his time in a carpenter shop in an obscure town in Galilee. We would never ever have allowed him to live without any earthly goods. Nor would we have allowed him to go through his life and ministry with a ragtag band of followers like he did. We would have made sure that we had people qualified to be his disciples. And the qualifications would have been very stiff. We would have done it differently. We would never have allowed him to be humiliated. We would have imprisoned or executed anybody who spit on him or pulled his beard or mocked him to the face or drove nails through his hands. We would have done it very differently and we wouldn't be saved.

Is it any wonder that the psalmist says in Psalm 36, 6, thy judgments are like a great deep? This is too much for us. We can't understand this. How unsearchable are his ways, untrackable. You can't find the end of them.

You can't get to either the source or the goal. You don't understand it. Such profound truth, such deep divine purpose, and this God has done for us, for us. Let's bow in prayer. Lord, we say with the Apostle Paul, oh the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments and unfathomable his ways. For who has known the mind of the Lord or who became his counselor?

Or who has first given to him that it might be paid back to him again? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever.

Amen. You're listening to Grace to You, featuring John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, both located in the Los Angeles area, and today's lesson from Philippians chapter 2 looked at the humiliation of Christ. John, today you said the God-man, Jesus Christ, humbled himself so completely that most people never saw the God part. And I thought about the Mount of Transfiguration, where Jesus unveiled his glory completely, and you're right, he took just three of his closest disciples.

Most people never saw that. So with that in mind, is it possible maybe for a new Christian especially to focus so much on Christ's humanity that they miss the reality, the full reality of his deity? So how do you strike the right balance on that? Well the right balance is clearly in Scripture. This is why I'm an expositor of Scripture, because when you exposit the Word of God, when you go through Matthew and you go through Mark and you go through Luke and you go through John, the balance is there.

It's there in absolute perfection. So you don't want to understate the humanity of Christ, but you certainly don't want to understate the deity of Christ. And it's very foundational. You know, there are so many people who talk about Jesus, but they're not talking about the Jesus of the Bible. And a good way to get started, I think, is a book that we would love to send you as a free gift if you've never contacted our ministry. It's called the Jesus Answer Book.

And again, let me say, it's free to anyone who has not contacted us before. Jesus is often misrepresented, misunderstood. This little book will put you in touch with what the Bible says about it in a kind of a question and answer, what the Bible says about him and his nature, in a question and answer format.

It asks and answers questions like, why should you believe that he was virgin born? What do we know about his childhood? Why did he treat his opponents as harshly as he did? What about his trial?

Why didn't he say anything in his defense? How do we know he rose from the dead? Dozens more questions. If you have never contacted us, but you'd love to get acquainted with Jesus Christ, this is your opportunity. We'll send you a free copy of the Jesus Answer Book just to say thanks for listening and to help you get to know the Savior. Call or write and request your book at our website today.

Limited time offer while supplies last. Yes, and this resource won't just help you know Christ. It will better equip you to tell others what it means to know Christ. To receive the Jesus Answer Book free if it's your first time contacting us, get in touch today. Our number here, 855-GRACE.

Or you can make your request at our website, The Jesus Answer Book is a one-of-a-kind reference tool. It covers topics like the Last Supper, Christ's deity, his teaching, and why he had to suffer on the cross. This book can help you or someone you love better understand all that Christ has done for his followers. Again, we'll send you the Jesus Answer Book for free if you've never contacted us before. Call us at 800-55-GRACE, or go to our website And make sure you stop by our website often. It's well stocked with free Bible study resources, including 3500 sermons from John, a blog featuring biblical perspectives on hot button issues in the church today, and the free Study Bible app for Apple and Android devices. All of that is available free of charge at Now for John MacArthur and the Grace To You staff, I'm Phil Johnson, reminding you to watch Grace To You television this Sunday, and then join us next week when John begins a series on how you can control your tongue and honor the Lord with your words. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time, on Monday's Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-27 17:14:36 / 2023-05-27 17:24:36 / 10

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