Christianity 201

September 18, 2011

What It Means to Say, “He Emptied Himself…”

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  Phil. 2: 5-7 RSV

The phrase “he emptied himself” was, to me, an obvious reference to Philippians chapter two, but when I tried to find it, it occurs neither in the NIV or the King James version.  It actually appears in the RSV (Revised Standard Version)…

…Each weekend, Phil Johnson at the reformed blog Pyromaniacs posts something from Charles Spurgeon.  I discovered today I’ve had this one bookmarked for a few weeks.  In addition to seeing the humiliation of Christ’s incarnation, I hope it whets your appetite for reading more of Spurgeon and other classic authors.

Though he was rich, “he became poor.” I am only telling you something that you know full well, but let your minds be refreshed with the remembrance that Christ was so poor that he was swaddled with bands just as any other infant was. Although he was the Infinite, he was so poor that he had to be sheltered in a stable because there was no room for him in the inn. Afterwards, he was so poor that he was banished from his own country and had to flee into Egypt. He was so poor that he was the fit companion of a humble carpenter at Nazareth; so poor that, when he came out into public life, his dress was the common garment of a laborer, woven from the top throughout without a seam.

He had not where to lay his head, though foxes had their holes, and birds their nests. He was so poor that he was indebted for his daily bread to the charity of gracious women who followed him, and ministered to him of their substance. Though the cattle on a thousand hills were his, he sat upon a well at Sychar, and said to a poor woman, “Give me to drink.”

Oftentimes, he knew what faintness and hunger meant; and the longer he lived the more intense his poverty became, until, at last, he was left without a friend when most he needed sympathy,—without one to speak a good word for him when he was arraigned before the bar of those who had resolved to condemn him to death. Since was he taken out to die without a rag to cover him; and when he was dead, he was indebted for a tomb to one who lent it to him out of love.

Never was there anywhere else such poverty as the poverty of Christ, for it was not merely external, it was also internal. He became so poor, though bearing our sin, that he had to lose the light of his Father’s countenance; emptying himself of all the repute he had, he became a spectacle of scorn and shame because our shameful sin had been laid upon him. See him on yonder shameful cross, mark his many wounds, hear his expiring cry, and as ye gaze upon that spectacle of majestic misery, remember that although he was rich, he became thus poor.

Charles H. Spurgeon

1 Comment »

  1. […] (aka Team Pyro) posts a “weekly dose” of writing from Charles Spurgeon. (This is not the first time we’ve “borrowed” one from Team Pyro.) Here are a couple of recent ones: The first […]

    Pingback by A Dose of Spurgeon « Christianity 201 — June 2, 2012 @ 5:36 pm | Reply


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