“A leading researcher on humiliation, Dr. Evelin Lindner, defines humiliation as ‘the enforced lowering of a person or group, a process of subjugation that damages or strips away their pride, honor or dignity.’ Further, humiliation means to be placed, against ones will, in a situation where one is made to feel inferior. ‘One of the defining characteristics of humiliation as a process is that the victim is forced into passivity, acted upon, made helpless.’ Johan Galtung, a leading practitioner, agrees with Lindner that the infliction of humiliation is a profoundly violent psychological act that leaves the victim with a deep wound to the psyche.” (Beyondintractability.org)
Christmas celebrates the humiliation of Christ.
The Incarnation was the humbling of the King of the universe, the stripping away of his honor and dignity. The Creator of all is born a helpless babe. The One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills is born in poverty. The One who directs the stars in their courses is laid in a trough, dependent on the care of his mother and father. The One who sends the rain cries out in hunger and thirst. The King of glory becomes a speck of dust.
No human being has ever been humiliated like Christ. Because Christ is God Most High, his descent was an infinite descent.
A.W. Tozer says, “We must not think of God as highest in an ascending order of beings, starting with the single cell and going on up from the fish to the bird to the animal to man to angel to cherub to God. This would be to grant God eminence, even pre-eminence, but that is not enough; we must grant Him transcendence in the fullest meaning of that word.”
“Forever God stands apart, in light unapproachable. He is as high above an archangel as above a caterpillar, for the gulf that separates the archangel from the caterpillar is but finite, while the gulf between God and the archangel is infinite. The caterpillar and the archangel, though far removed from each other in the scale of created things, are nevertheless one in that they are alike created. They both belong in the category of that-which-is-not-God and are separated from God by infinitude itself.” (A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy)
The infinitely transcendant God becomes lower than the angels. Infinite humiliation.
Jesus’ death was the ultimate humiliation. The Holy One was made to be sin. The Blessed One was made a curse. The Sinless One drank the cup of wrath. The Majestic One hung naked on a cross. The Innocent One died a criminal’s death. The Beautiful One was marred beyond recognition.
The amazing thing about Jesus’ humiliation is that it was voluntary. Christ’s humiliation was not an “enforced lowering of a person”. He was not placed, against his will, in a situation where he was made to feel inferior. He was not a “victim” who was “forced into passivity, acted upon, made helpless.” Jesus “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Php 2:7-8).
The Incarnation was the self-humbling of Christ. Let’s worship the Humble One, the Glorious One, the Exalted One.