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“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
GOD COULD NOT HAVE DIED AN ATONING DEATH FOR OUR SINS WITHOUT BECOMING A HUMAN BEING. There was only one sacrifice that could save us, and He had to take upon Himself human form in order to make that sacrifice. From our limited viewpoint, we have no idea what it cost Him to humble Himself in this way.
The word “humility” is the only word that can describe it, of course, but what we know of humility in our human relationships hardly seems sufficient. When God “humbled himself” by diving into the cesspool of the human race and allowing Himself to be killed on our behalf, He engaged in an act of sacrificial service that should make any of us reluctant to say that we’ve ever really given up anything for anyone. In eternally unfathomable ways, He “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7).
But it was not merely by being humble that Jesus procured our salvation — it was “by becoming obedient.” We have learned nothing of Jesus Christ and His gospel if we have not learned the necessity of obedience. Our ears are deaf if we can’t hear the courage of His submission to His Father’s will on the eve of His execution: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36). But oh, how thankful we are for His obedience. We would be lost without it, would we not? “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him” (Hebrews 5:8,9).
In the Roman Empire, there was no more humiliating death than crucifixion. Jesus was not the only person executed by Rome in this way, but the uniqueness of His crucifixion was that the most humiliating form of death was meted out to the most powerful Being in the universe: God Himself. And if God would submit to such a thing, what are the implications for us? At the very least, it means we cannot “follow” Christ or “accept” Him without emulating His example of obedience — even when it is costly.
“To be like Christ. That is our goal, plain and simple. It sounds like a peaceful, relaxing, easy objective. But stop and think. He learned obedience by the things he suffered. So must we” (Charles R. Swindoll).
Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com