The word “humiliation” is not one that we often associate with Jesus. It’s one that we can’t help but read in a negative light. But as we will see, when it’s connected to Jesus, it has some really good news.
Humiliation as we typically understand it, means to put someone to shame. But in an older sense, the word also refers to humility, the characteristic of being humble, or not thinking too highly of oneself. And both senses apply to Jesus.
Positively, we see that Jesus, as God the Son, is equal with God and worthy of all glory, honor and praise, He humbled Himself by taking on human flesh. He left His glorious state and came in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3).
Now, here’s where the negative from one point of view that comes in: Jesus humbled Himself, and Philippians says He did so to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8). Jesus experiences a humiliating death, the worst kind of death a person could experience in that day. He was mocked and ridiculed, and left to die in shame.
But in this, in both Jesus’ humility and in His humiliation, there is good news. In His humility, Jesus humbled Himself so that He could live as we do in order to fulfill God’s commands for us and save us from sin. And in His humiliation, Jesus became sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
In other words, Jesus’ humiliation is the heart of the gospel itself. And all people everywhere are called to humble themselves and respond to Jesus’ humility by turning from sin and believing in Him for the forgiveness of our sins.