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Wrapped in Humility

“Christ Jesus … made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7).

In eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit shared coequally in all God is. The Son who was about to become incarnate was possessed of the glory of God, the likeness of God, the image of God, the splendor of God, indeed, everything that makes God God. Everything that caused the angels to adore God was there in the Lord Jesus Christ. When we begin there, the impact of what follows is staggering.

Coming in the very form or nature of God, Jesus didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped. In other words, instead of holding on to His own uninterrupted glory, He chose to set it aside.

Paul tells us that He “made Himself of no reputation.” What does this say? It says that in coming into the world, Christ chose not to arrive in a fashion that was so marked with dignity and style that it would immediately cause people to say, “Oh, this must be God Incarnate.”

In fact, remember what the angel said to the shepherds: “This shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12). What a strange site. Not that the shepherds were unfamiliar with a manger. It was part of their routine activities. But a child in a manger? What child is this that would be laid in a manger? The sign is not a chariot parked outside. It’s not a scepter, but a stable.

Jesus did not approach the incarnation asking, “What’s in it for Me, what do I get out of it?”

In coming to earth He said, “I don’t matter.”

Jesus, You’re going to be laid in a manger.

“It doesn’t matter.”

Jesus, You will have nowhere to lay Your head.

“It doesn’t matter.”

Jesus, You will be an outcast and a stranger.

“It doesn’t matter.”

Jesus, they will nail You to a cross and Your followers will all desert You.

And Jesus says, “That’s okay.”

—Adapted from “He Humbled Himself” by Alistair Begg.

“Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty.” —John Calvin