Question 27 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks: In what did Christ’s humiliation consist?
The answer given is: “Christ’s humiliation consisted in being born, and that in a poor circumstance;[a] in being subject to God’s law; in undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God and the curse of death on the cross; in being buried; and in continuing under the power of death for a time.”
As I write this, it is Good Friday of 2023, a day where Christ’s humiliation is highlighted in his crucifixion.
Recently, in my Bible reading, the rules for sacrifices as given by Moses in the book of Leviticus came to my attention. The seriousness of sin cannot be ignored when it is seen that death is the result of that sin. The animal must die so that atonement may be made.
The one making the sacrifice was right there when the animal was killed. The one making the sacrifice was an active participant in the shedding of the blood. He could not ignore the serious nature of the ceremony.
But growing up in the church in the 20th Century, it was too easy to have a sanitized view of the sacrificial system. Sure, we understood that the animal died, but it seems so distant and not connected with our current situation.
But Good Friday makes us face the seriousness of our sin. Jesus Christ had to die to make atonement for that sin. We see the horrific event of the crucifixion and can better understand the intensity of the love God has for us.
I am reminded of a passage from Hebrews:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Emphasis Added)Hebrews 12:1–2, ESV
If you have any question about the what motivated Jesus to endure the cross, if you wonder what joy could be worth the pain, take this opportunity to go look in a mirror.
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