This entry is part 5 of 16 in the series: The Fountain of Life (Flavel)
- The excellency of knowing Christ crucified
- Christ’s primeval glory
- Christ’s wonderful person
- Christ’s humiliation in his incarnation
- Christ’s humiliation in his life
- Christ’s prayer for his people
- The Lord’s Supper
- Christ’s illegal trial and condemnation
- The nature of Christ’s death
- ‘Father, forgive them’
- Flavel on Jesus’ cry of dereliction
- “It is finished”
- ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’
- The resurrection of Christ
- The ascension of Christ
- Christ’s exaltation
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself; and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.” Phil. 2:8
DOCTRINE. That the state of Christ, from his conception to his resurrection, was a state of deep debasement and humiliation.
The Lord Jesus was humbled in his incarnation, his life, and his death. Here we deal with the second of these.
I. The Lord Jesus was humbled in his very infancy, by his circumcision according to the law, Lk 2:21. He was thereby humbled,
1. In that hereby he obliged himself to keep the whole law, though he was the Law-maker; Gal. 5:3.
2. In that he was represented to the world not only as a subject, but also as a sinner: for though he was pure and holy, yet this ordinance passing upon him, seemed to imply as if corruption had indeed been in him, which must be cut off by mortification.
II. Christ was humbled by persecution, and that in the very morning of his life: he was banished almost as soon as born, Mt 2:13.
III. Our Lord Jesus Christ was yet more humbled in his life, by that poverty and outward meanness which all along attended his condition: he lived poor and low all his days, so speaks the apostle, 2 Cor. 8:9. “Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor;” so poor, that he was never owner of a house to dwell in, but lived all his days in other men’s houses, or lay in the open air, Mt 8:20. He came hot to be ministered unto, but to minister, Mat. 20:28. not to amass earthly treasures, but to bestow heavenly ones.
IV. Our dear Jesus was yet further humbled in his life, by the horrid temptations wherewith Satan assaulted him, Lk 4:1-13. What can you imagine more burdensome to him that was brought up from eternity with God, delighting in the holy Father, to be now shut into a wilderness with the Devil, there to be baited so many days, and have his ears filled, though not defiled, with horrid blasphemy?
V. Our blessed Lord Jesus was yet more humbled in his life than all this, and that by his own sympathy with others, under all the burdens that made him groan, Mt 8:16f. For the more holy any is, the more he is grieved and afflicted for the sin of others; and the more tender any man is, the more he is pierced with beholding the miseries that lie upon others. And it is sure, never any heart more holy, or more sensible, tender and compassionate than Christ’s.
VI. That which yet helped to humble him lower, was the ungrateful, and most base and unworthy entertainment the world gave him. He was not received or treated like a Savior, but as the vilest of men. He that came “to dissolve the works of the devil,” 1 John 3:8. knock off the chains, “open the prison-doors, proclaim liberty to the captives,” Isa. 61:1. I say, when such a Savior arrived, O with what acclamations of joy, and demonstration of thankfulness, should he have been received? One would have thought they should even kiss the ground he trod upon: but instead of this, He was hated, John 15:13. He was despised by them, Matt. 13:55. Accused of working his miracles by the power of the devil, Mat. 12:24. He was trod upon as a worm, Psalm. 22:6. They buffeted him, Matt. 26:67, smote him on the head, Matt. 27:30. arrayed him as a fool, ver. 20. spat in his face, ver. 30. despised him as the basest of men, “this fellow said,” Matt. 26:61. One of his own followers sold him, another forswore him, and all forsook him in his greatest troubles. “He endured the contradiction of sinners against himself.”
1. Justice itself may set both hand and seal to the acquittances and discharges of believers.
2. The greatest innocence and piety cannot exempt from persecution and injury. Persecution follows piety as the shadow does the body, 2 Tim. 3:12. Let it not be said of you, as it is of the hypocrite, whose lusts are only hid, but not mortified by his duties, that he is like flint, which seems cold; but if you strike him, he is all fiery. To do well, and suffer ill, is Christ-like.
3. Such as are full of grace and holiness, may be destitute and empty of creature-comforts.
4. Those in whom Satan has no interest, may have most trouble from him in this world, John 14:30. “The Prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me.” Where he knows he cannot be a conqueror he will not cease to be a troubler.
5. A compassionate spirit, towards such as labor under burdens of sin, or affliction, is Christ like, and truly excellent, Col 3:12; Rom 12:15; 2 Cor 11:29; Gal 6:1.
6. The judgement the world gives of persons, and their worth, is little to be regarded. The saints are styled persons, “of whom the world is not worthy” Heb. 11:38.
7. Pass through all the troubles of your life with a contended, composed spirit, as Christ your fore-runner did.