The following devotional was taken from Jonathan Edwards' sermon The Excellency of Christ. Edwards' goal in the message was to show how the conjunction of Christ's diverse qualities coming together show his majesty and glory; for example, he is referred to as both a lion and a lamb. In this section, Christ is seen as humiliated and exalted simultaneously on the cross, which results in eternal praise and glory for his name. The text has been updated for modern readers. The complete updated sermon can be found in The Excellency of Christ.
As Christ was sacrificed, he faced the greatest humiliation of his life. But because of that very humiliation, his divine glory appeared at its highest level.
Throughout his life, Christ’s humiliation was great. He was born into poverty to a poor virgin. He came into the world in a stable and was laid in a manger. Later in his childhood, he graciously submitted to Joseph the carpenter and Mary his mother. In adulthood he also lived in poverty. Many times he didn’t even have a place to lay his head. Though he went about preaching and working miracles, he suffered many bitter words from his enemies.
These things were humiliating for Jesus. But never did he face humiliation like he did in his last sufferings, beginning in the garden and ending with his death on the cross. During that sorrowful time, Jesus was exposed to public shame like never before. He had never experienced so much pain in his body. His soul was in supreme agony. Never before had he exercised so much condescension, humility, meekness, and patience. His divine glory was covered over with a thick veil. He emptied himself and made himself of no reputation.
But never before was his divine glory revealed in such a supreme way! In the very same act of giving himself up to suffering, his lion-like qualities were also becoming visible. But it would be after the fruit of his sufferings came to bloom that their glory would truly appear. Over time the mystery of his agony was better understood, as the point of what he did on the cross was unfolded and comprehended.
Once this happened, Christ’s sufferings were seen as the most glorious act he ever did for mankind! Even the angels in heaven celebrate the sacrifice of Christ with special praises. All the hosts of heaven join the angels in declaring this act supremely glorious. Here is their celebration:
Revelation 5:9-12 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
At the cross, the Lord Jesus experienced the greatest humility imaginable. But by his sacrifice on that same cross, he forever experiences the greatest eternal glory.