The Shorter Catechism, 9
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Q27: Wherein did Christís humiliation consist?
A: Christís humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross; in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time.
To descend from heaven, to hide a great part of His being God, and to live on earth in the low condition of men, was a humiliation for Christ. Wherein does that humiliation consist?
1. Christís humiliation consisted in being born, and that in a low condition. Only being born is no humiliation in itself, but being born in a low condition, and that for the King of kings, is really a humiliation. We read of His low and poor condition during and after His birth. He lacked the normal circumstances. "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger." Luk.2:7
2. Christís humiliation consisted in being made under the law. Christ was God, the Lawgiver, but in His humiliation He Himself was made subject to His own law. "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law." Gal.4:4
3. Christís humiliation consisted in undergoing the miseries of this life. Before He came on earth, Christ, being God, and dwelling in heaven, was far elevated above any misery. He lived in glory. For such a King, it was a great humiliation to undergo the miseries of the life on this earth. "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." Isa.53:3
4. Christís humiliation consisted in undergoing the wrath of God. Wouldnít it be a humiliation to undergo the wrath of God while innocent? Christ was without sin. He was righteous. He was holy, and that for always. But yet He had the wrath of God poured out upon Him. Had He deserved that? The wrath of God, burning against Him, was yet another sign of His humiliation. It was because of this wrath, that God forsook Jesus for a time. "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?" Matt.27:46
5. Christís humiliation consisted in undergoing the cursed death of the cross. It was written that the hanged on the wood was accursed of God, "he that is hanged is accursed of God", Deuteronomy 21:23. Christ was God, but when He hung on the tree, it appeared that He was accursed of His Father. His body, alive or dead, hung there as if it had no value at all. To descend from being the infinite God, to valueless hanging on a tree, was really a humiliation. "He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philip.2:8
6. Christís humiliation consisted in being buried. Though Jesus was God, yet His dead body was buried in the grave. No longer could anyone see any difference between this Man, Christ and God, and any common sinner. Wasnít this a great humiliation? "And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took [him] down from the tree, and laid [him] in a sepulchre." Acts 13:29
7. Christís humiliation consisted in continuing under the power of death for a time. Though Christ was the Giver of life, yet He Himself continued for some time under the power of the opponent of life, under the power of death. As if He wasnít Life Himself. As if He had not raised up several from death. But now, being for some time under the power of our last enemy, death, it seemed that He was conquered. "As Jonas was three days and three nights in the whaleís belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matt.12:40