Celebrating 80 Years Pt.3: Obedient Unto the Death of the Cross

Posted: March 3, 2016
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Celebrating 80 Years of Briercrest

Check back monthly to enjoy a six part series of devotional excerpts from  Briercrest founding President Dr. Henry Hildebrand's book "Our Gracious God and Loving Heavenly Father: Book 4". If you would like a free copy of this  book please contact our Alumni Engagement Coordinator:  bklein@briercrest.ca.

ReadIsaiah 53:1-12

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death – even death on a cross.”  Philippians 2:8

Concerning this passage, F. B. Meyer penned these beautiful words in Our Daily Walk:

Guided by the Spirit of God, the Apostle opens the compasses of his imagination and faith, and places the one point upon the throne of the Eternal God, and the other upon the Cross of shame where Jesus died, and shows us the steps by which He approached nearer and nearer to human need and sin; that, having embraced us in our low estate, He might carry us back with Himself to the throne of God; and that by identifying Himself with our sin and sorrow, He might ultimately identify us with the glory that He had with the Father before the world was.

In essence Jesus was God, the image of the invisible God: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped” (Philippians 2:6).  As John put it in his prologue to his marvelous Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).  Every other being who claims to be God is grasping a title that is not his.  He is robbing it; but not so our Lord.

 Being in the eternal throne of splendor, our Lord stooped down.  Note the first stop: “but made himself nothing” (Philippians 2:7).  He made Himself of no reputation, i.e., He emptied Himself of His glory but not of His deity.  The next step is “taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7).  “Let me rule,” is the ambition of man.  What man won’t do in order to rule!  In fact, wasn’t this Satan’s fall, and later man’s fall?  They grasped for power.  They wanted to be like God.

By way of contrast our Lord, “being found in human appearance,” became a servant for the purpose of accomplishing redemption.  “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14).  He came to dwell with man.  Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us! 

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.”  Death had no claim on Him, for death is by sin, but He came to be obedient to death – even death on a cross.  This was the ultimate step of His humiliation – to bear our sins that we may be delivered from death.  That’s our glorious Gospel: His death delivers us from death. 

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Through my education, I have had my eyes opened to the radical call of the Gospel. Through the community, I have been given the opportunity to live this call out.
Matthew Pauls (College)