Truths About the Incarnation: Part 6

Part of the humanity of Jesus involved His humiliation.[1] There is a biblical doctrine that theologians call “The Humiliation of the Messiah.” His humiliation is seen in twelve different ways.

First, His humiliation included the Incarnation itself. The fact that God had to become a man was a “stepping‑down,” a humiliation (Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:6‑7; Heb. 2:14).

Secondly, His humiliation is seen in that He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. He looked like a sinful human being. This, too, is part of His humiliation (Rom. 8:3; Phil. 2:7).

Thirdly, His humiliation is seen in that He was born in a lowly condition. To make matters worse, He was not born into a wealthy family, but into a family that was poverty-stricken. Matthew 2:23states that of all the places to be raised, He was raised in one of the most denigrated towns: Nazareth. Because He was raised in Nazareth, He was called a Nazarene, and that was not considered a favorable title. It was not a title of respect. Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? was a popular saying. It was a city of disrepute. Furthermore, Matthew 8:20 states that He had no wealth of His own. Luke 2:7 says He was born in a stable and laid in a manger. Luke 2:22‑24 teaches that He was born into a family that was so poverty-stricken, that the only offering the parents could afford to give was two turtledoves, a sign of their economic destitution. II Corinthians 8:9 states that, by means of the Incarnation, he became poor.

Fourthly, His humiliation is seen in that He was born under the law (Gal. 4:4). He had to subject Himself to a Law that He Himself had originated. That, too, was part of the humiliation of Jesus.

Fifth, His humiliation is seen in that He had to be in submission to the limitations of humanity. This is the doctrine of The Kenosis, meaning “The Emptying.” This is the point of Philippians 2:5‑11. It means that, while He did not lose any of His divine attributes, He did have limited use of them. This limited use of His divine attributes was also part of His humiliation.

Sixth, His humiliation is seen in that He had to undergo all the miseries of life discussed earlier under the heading “The Humanity of the Messiah,” and this, too, was a mark of His humiliation (Jn. 7:5; Heb. 4:15; 12:3).

Seventh, His humiliation is seen in that He became a servant and ministered as a servant. This is illustrated in John 13:1‑11 when He washed the disciples’ feet. It is also stated as a doctrine in Philippians 2:7.

Eighth, His humiliation is seen in that He bore man’s sins; He had to carry man’s sins. And that was humiliating for One who was absolutely holy and sinless (II Cor. 5:21; I Pet. 2:24).

Ninth, His humiliation is seen in that He endured the curse of the death on the cross. Of all the ways He could have been executed, the most ignoble execution, the most humiliating way to die was by hanging on a tree. This was considered by Jewish culture and custom to be the most degrading death of all. So, this, too, was a part of His humiliation (Gal. 3:13; Heb. 12:2).

Tenth, His humiliation is seen in His death. The very fact that the God‑Man, the Holy and Sinless One, had to undergo death was a part of His humiliation (Phil. 2:8).

Eleventh, His humiliation is seen in His burial. The fact that He had to be buried like every other man was a sign of His humiliation (Mat. 27:59‑60; Acts 13:34‑35; I Cor. 15:4). The humiliation of His burial is seen further in that none of those who were close to Yeshua throughout His life and ministry were involved in the burial. They kept their distance. Jesus was buried by two men who, up until then, were secret, distant believers: Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus.

And twelfth, His humiliation is seen in His descent into Sheol or Hades. He, too, had to descend to that temporary place of confinement for the saints (Acts 2:27, 31; Eph. 4:9; I Pet. 3:18‑19).

These are the twelve points that clearly teach the concept of the humiliation of the Messiah, very much a part of His humanity, which, in turn, is part of the concept of the Incarnation.

As believers look at all these things to which Yeshua submitted Himself, as they look at all these points of His humiliation, they should not miss the opportunity to remind themselves exactly why He did all this. The reason was so that He could become their Substitute. He lived as a man and died as a man, but He died a substitutionary death for man’s sins. As believers undergo the sufferings of human life, as they undergo deprivation or humiliation, they should always have this picture in their minds: that they have not suffered anything nor will ever suffer anything that is anywhere near comparable to the sufferings of Yeshua the Messiah. If this is kept in mind, they will see what a great thing He did, and will understand that He did it for them. Believers should always be grateful that He was willing to be humiliated in order to provide salvation and power for living in this life. When they suffer, let them not react against God. Let them remember that when they suffer, they are co‑suffering with Him. The Bible promises that if they suffer with Him, they shall also be glorified with Him.

[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.

One thought on “Truths About the Incarnation: Part 6

  1. What about the post-resurrection scars in His hands and side as He invited Thomas to “handle Him and see?”

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