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THE HUMILIATION OF CHRIST

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, December 29, 2002


"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).


This is the third sermon I am giving on a question someone asked me recently. The question was this:

God makes the rules. So why did Jesus have to die on the Cross? I know it was prophesied. But God could have given man a second chance instead of making Jesus pay for it.

In the first sermon I said that Jesus' agony on the Cross was the only means by which God could be "just, and the justifier" at the same time (cf. Romans 3:24-26). In the second sermon, I showed from Scripture that Jesus is God in human flesh, and that God Himself died to pay for man's sins.

Now, tonight, I am going to speak on this question one more time, in connection with the humiliation of Christ. The word "humiliation" means dishonoring, crushing, degrading, putting to shame.

Jesus went through all of that. He was sent out from the glory of Heaven, onto the earth, where He was dishonored, crushed, degraded, put to shame, humiliated - to pay the penalty for our sins. And yet, even today, people degrade and humiliate Christ by saying that His great sacrifice was worthless. They dishonor Christ by saying that He suffered on the Cross for nothing. They join hands with the Muslims - who say Jesus did not have to die for our sins. Even today

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).

Sin is trivialized in that question.

God could have given man a second chance instead of making Jesus pay for it.

Sin is only "it." It is considered something quite small and relatively unimportant. Sin could have been "overlooked" in this person's view.

But sin is not trivial, small and relatively unimportant. Sin ruined the universe, cursed the earth, brought physical death to man, ruin to the creation, and damnation for eternity to billions. Sin is not something small that God could have winked at and forgotten. Sin is such a monstrous problem that nothing short of the death of God Himself could solve it, and rid mankind from its hideous consequences. That is why Jesus left the perfect environment of Heaven, and allowed Himself to be deposited into the womb of a poverty-stricken teenage girl, to be born in a barn, and laid in the hay, with cows and goats and donkeys, turned away from the warmth of the inn, born in cold, dark poverty - to save us from the power of sin.

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).

Thus the humiliation of Christ begins.

I. First, Christ was degraded and put to shame at His birth.

He was not born in a castle. He was born in a cow stall. His earthly parents were not wealthy. They were very poor. The circumstances surrounding His birth are graphically given in these words:

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7).

We are accustomed to seeing this scene on Christmas cards, and it all looks bright and beautiful. But it wasn't. It was a dirty, dark place, filled with farm animals. You wouldn't want to have a baby there. It was not a nice, clean hospital room. It was a filthy barn. And they put the baby Jesus in a manger, a rough trough that held feed for the cattle.

"There was no room for them in the inn." One would think that they could have made room for a woman about to give birth. But they didn't. They shoved her out into the cold. Even at His birth

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).

Christ had a humiliating birth. He was degraded and put to shame in a barn full of animals.

II. Second, Christ was degraded and put to shame by King Herod.

King Herod should have welcomed the Messiah. The chief priests and scribes told the King where the Messiah would be born. They quoted Micah 5:2, which said He would be born in Bethlehem. But King Herod did not go to worship Him. Instead, He commanded his soldiers to go and kill Him (cf. Matthew 2:16). Jesus was saved from death as a mere baby by a miracle.

King Herod despised and rejected the Saviour, even as people despise and reject Him today.

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).

What a degrading humiliation! The new born Saviour was treated like a criminal by the King, who sought to murder Him.

III. Third, Christ was degraded and put to shame
in the synagogue at Nazareth.

"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read" (Luke 4:16).

The people of the city of Nazareth knew Him well. Jesus had been raised there. Surely, you would think, His neighbors and childhood friends would treat Him well. But they did not.

Jesus stood at the front of the synagogue and read from Isaiah 61:1-2. Then Jesus said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" (Luke 4:21). But instead of accepting Him, they said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" (Luke 4:22). Then Jesus said, "No prophet is accepted in his own country" (Luke 4:24).

"And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong" (Luke 4:28-29).

It was a miracle that He wasn't killed right then - by His neighbors and childhood friends! "But he passing through the midst of them went his way" (Luke 4:30). "He came unto his own, and his own received him not" (John 1:11). Christ was humiliated again, degraded and put to shame in His own synagogue at Nazareth.

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).

IV. Fourth, Christ was degraded and put to shame
while doing marvelous miracles.

For instance, remember when Jesus cast demons out of a man.

"Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils" (Matthew 12:22-24).

A man who was made blind and speechless by demons was healed by Jesus. But the Pharisees said, "He did it by the power of Satan - by Beelzebub!" They accused the Saviour of using Satanic magic to heal the man!

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).

Then, think of the time when Jesus healed the man with a withered hand:

"And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him" (Mark 3:5-6).

Or think of the time when Jesus cast demons out of the maniac at Gadara (cf. Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-17; Luke 8:26-39). This man was truly a maniac. They tried to tie him up with chains, but he broke loose. This madman lived in the tombs above the city. He was very dangerous and ran through the tombs naked. Then Jesus came and cast the demons out of him. The people of Gadara went out to see the man afterwards.

"Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind…"
      (Luke 8:35).

What did the people of the town do? Did they thank Jesus for saving their town from the menace of this lunatic? No, they did not.

"Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them" (Luke 8:37).

They told Jesus to leave. They didn't want anything to do with Him.

Time and again Jesus was humiliated, despised and rejected, during His earthly ministry.

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).

V. Fifth, Christ was degraded and put to shame in the
Garden of Gethsemane.

"Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him" (Matthew 26:3-4).

"And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people" (Luke 22:2).

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).

That night Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, which He celebrated with the Disciples. Judas was filled with the Devil and slipped away into the darkness to betray Him. After the Lord's Supper Jesus took the Disciples deep into the Garden of Gethesemane. There in the darkness Jesus left them to pray, while He went farther into the Garden.

"And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:44).

The weight of mankind's sin was placed on Jesus, and He became the sin-bearing Paschal Lamb. Blood poured through the pores of His skin as your sins were placed on the Lamb of God, the Saviour, Jesus.

But He was left alone. The Disciples fell asleep. They deserted the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world! When the guards came to arrest the blood-soaked Saviour, "Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled" (Matthew 26:56).

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).

Oh, Jesus, why are you covered with bloody sweat? O Saviour, why do your Disciples flee and leave you alone? Why, O my Christ, do the rough Roman guards come and haul you away - as though you were a criminal? Oh, Jesus, why must you be

"…despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief"? (Isaiah 53:3).

Why indeed, if there were any other way for God to take away my sin?

VI. Sixth, Christ was degraded and put to shame by beatings, spittings,
scourging, and crucifixion, nailed to a cross.

"Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands" (John 19:1-3).

"They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek" (Micah 5:1).

"And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head" (Matthew 27:30).

"I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting" (Isaiah 50:6).

"And they crucified him…and sitting down they watched him there" (Matthew 27:35-36).

"They shall look upon me whom they have pierced"
      (Zechariah 12:10).

"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).

"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost"
      (John 19:30).

"Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures"
      (I Corinthians 15:3).

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all"
      (Isaiah 53:5-6).

It should be remembered that Jesus went through all this suffering willingly, out of obedience.

"He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8).

God did not "make" Jesus pay for sin, as the question said. Jesus went to the Cross willingly, because He loves you, and wants to save you from the penalty of your sins.

Yet even today

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).

Even today people think that His death on the Cross was not necessary. Many people in the world will tell you He died for nothing. They say,

God could have given man a second chance instead of making Jesus pay for it.

How very wrong they are. There was no other way to atone for your sin.

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood,
Sealed my pardon with His blood; Hallelujah, What a Saviour!
     ("Hallelujah, What a Saviour" by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Isaiah 53:1-11.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Hallelujah, What a Saviour"
    (by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

THE OUTLINE OF

THE HUMILATION OF CHRIST

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).

(Romans 3:24-26)

I.   Christ was despised and put to shame at His birth, Luke 2:7.

II.  Christ was degraded and put to shame by King Herod,
Matthew 2:16.

III. Christ was degraded and put to shame in the synagogue at
Nazareth, Luke 4:16, 21, 22, 24, 28-29, 30; John 1:11.

IV. Christ was degraded and put to shame while doing marvelous
miracles, Matthew 12:22-24; Mark 3:5-6 (cf. Matthew 8:28-34;
Mark 5:1-17; Luke 8:26-39); Luke 8:35-37.

V. Christ was degraded and put to shame in the Garden of
Gethsemane, Matthew 26:3-4; Luke 22:2, 44; Matthew 26:56.

VI. Christ was degraded and put to shame by beatings, spittings,
scourging, and crucifixion, nailed to a cross,
John 19:1-3; Micah 5:1; Matthew 27:30; Isaiah 50:6;
Matthew 27:35-36, Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 27:46;
John 19:30; I Corinthians 15:3; Isaiah 53:5-6; Philippians 2:8.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."