This morning, my sermon was from Philippians 2:7-8 on Christ’s humiliation. It was a very basic, short (for me) meditation on the old, old story. We had our monthly Communion service this morning. Advent and the Lord’s Table go together so very well. There is not a lot of distance between the manger and the cross.
I grew up in a Christian home, I’ve been a Christian for nearly 30 years and a pastor for 15 years. As I prepared and preached this week, I was overwhelmed with what Christ did when he came from the highest place in the universe to the very lowest place; even death on a cross.
While I was preparing, I remembered something I heard a long time ago, “If something defies description, let it.” I was tempted to take that advice. Describing the humiliation of the Son of God is beyond what I could ever manage, but it is my responsibility as a servant of the Word to try to explain the Gospel to my people. A couple of things stand out from my study this week:
First, the word ‘obedience’ as it relates to Christ is staggering. How could the one who created all things for His pleasure, the perfect, eternal Son of God learn anything, let alone obedience? This makes Him sound like some kind of servant.I explained Christ’s obedience in terms of His position as our New Adam. He, through His obedience, did exactly the opposite of what the first Adam did. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19 ESV). All who look to Him for salvation will find that He is their new representative, their Champion (I appreciate the section in John Pipers’ book, Counted Righteous in Christ on this passage). By God’s grace and power, we that trust Christ will be made like Him because He became like us.Christ learned obedience through what He suffered. God knows everything, but Christ learned in the flesh all the things that people experience. He even experienced death for us. He continues to have that knowledge as He intercedes for us in Heaven.
Secondly, when God tells us in His Word that He loves us and cares for us, we only need to look as far as the Incarnation and the cross to see that these are not idle words. The love of God radiates from the Gospel. No one could have made up this story. It has the ring of truth because it is true. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV).
We read Isaiah 52:13-53:12 in two parts as our Scripture readings today (52:1-6 before our time of silent confession and 53:7-12 before the message). Meditation on the person and work of Christ is our highest occupation because it leads to God-exalting worship and humble obedience to our Servant King. We will never fully understand the mystery of the Incarnation, but may we never tire of this glorious pursuit!