“He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
Instead of asserting His divine rights, Christ submitted Himself to the cross.
Even though the people did not recognize the deity of Christ and treated Him as a criminal, He did not fight back. Instead, He “humbled Himself.” Consider His trial. He said not a word to defend Himself throughout unbelievable humiliation. They mocked Him, punched Him, pulled out His beard—yet He did not say a word. He was silent and accepted man’s abuse through each phase of His phony trial. He did not demand His rights but “humbled Himself.”
In humility Christ was “obedient to the point of death” (v. 8). At no time did our Lord say, “Stop! That’s enough”—not in the middle of His trial, not when He was mocked, not when forced to walk half-naked through the city of Jerusalem with a cross on His back, not even on the cross. Christ was willing to descend into the muck and slime of death that He might bring us out of death into life.
Christ suffered not just death but death on a cross—the most excruciating, embarrassing, degrading, painful, and cruel death ever devised. The Jewish people hated crucifixion because of Deuteronomy 21:23: “Anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse” (NIV). The God who created the universe suffered the ultimate human degradation—hanging naked against the sky before a mocking world, with nails driven through His hands and feet.
Early nineteenth-century American preacher Gardiner Spring wrote, “The cross is the emblem of peace, but it is also an emblem of ignominy and suffering: it was so to the Saviour—it is so to his followers.” Christ said that His disciples must take up their cross and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). In keeping with Christ’s example, have you taken up the cross, living for His honor and glory no matter what?