“The twenty four elders fall down and worship the One who lives forever and ever. And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created everything, and it is for Your pleasure that they exist and were created” (Revelation 4:10-11)
God created the universe and all that is in it as an outpouring of His love, wisdom and power and human beings were designed and destined to share in that perfection of God for He created them in His image and likeness. The daily visits “during the cool of the day” were meant to fill them with His goodness and glory to make them partakers of and to reveal the same. But God never desired man to have any glory independent of Him and the “knowledge of good and evil” was withheld from them to make them seek God to decide that. God not only created everything in and with the power of His Word but He also maintains them in the power and glory of the same Word. Nothing can and will have any existence outside of God and man can have any relationship with God only through absolute and total surrender and dependence on Him.
When Satan tempted Eve with the ‘forbidden fruit’ the aim was to break that relationship of dependence upon God and urge them to become “like God”. Satan in his rebellious attempt to exalt himself above God in heaven had acted in pride and the same venom that he brought from heaven, the poison of pride, he injected into the very blood stream of Adam and Eve. “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and their expanse id declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1) and that is how it was meant to be. Satan and his angels started on the roads to disobedience from the moment they shifted their focus from the glory of God to themselves and were cast down from heaven. Adam and Eve attempted to cover their nakedness, the sin of independence from God and hiding self- thoughts, desires and will, from God and fell from that lofty place that God had prepared for them in the Garden of Eden. Loss of humble surrender to God and entry of pride into their hearts led to their being expelled from the Garden in the same manner that the devil and his partners were from heaven.
It is obvious that nothing could be the same in man’s relationship with God without purging of the sin of pride and restoration of humility and dependence on God. Jesus was the epitome of this humility in heaven as the Son of God- through being in exact likeness of God and doing His will alone and came to earth to help us share in His humility and surrender to the Divine will and thus restore that broken relationship with God. “Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form He humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).eHe Lord Jesus ‘emptied Himself’ to become man to redeem man from the curse of self and pride.
What does the “Emptying by Jesus” mean? – A tree produces whatever it has through the energy it derives through the root that anchors it to the earth. It is that anchor which only helps it produce fruit but also keeps the tree alive for its very existence depends on that connection. Lord Jesus as Son of God is the Creator of everything for “The Son is the image of the invisible God , the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17). All this glory our Lord decided to leave behind to humble Himself to become man. He abdicated the authority of God to:
- Create everything in the universe and beyond.
- To appoint rulers and dominions and authorities in heaven and on earth.
- His position as first of everything to become a lowly human being.
- Surrender His power and become dependent for care and protection to His earthly parents and others.
- Take on the form of a sinful man though being sinless and subject Himself to the demands and judgement of sinless beings.
- Become lower than angels even, who sing His glory with the glory of God the Father in heaven.
Simeon, the blessed man, who was destined to witness God’s glory revealed to human beings before his death, on seeing the child Jesus exclaimed, “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised…… my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all people” (Luke 2:29-31). Though the Holy Spirit, who had made this solemn promise did reveal to him the Messiah but he must have wondered to see God as a child- the Almighty becoming dependent on others. It is not only in taking the form of man that Jesus emptied Himself but also surrendered to God’s will and command in every way “The words I speak are not My own, but My Father who lives in Me does His work through Me” (John 14:10). These words express the essence of His “emptying Himself” and display His innermost self to us and the reason why Almighty God could use Him for our redemption.
Jesus became nothing to enable the Father to be everything in and through Him to fill Him with His own love, power and glory to reveal it to mankind. Jesus was bestowed with glory in heaven but His own will, power and strength He left in heaven to let the Father be all in Him on the earth. It was because of this refilling of Jesus by God that He found total and perfect peace and joy in obeying the Father’s every command. Jesus, the second Adam, gave everything to God but lost nothing while Adam got nothing but lost everything in the Garden of Eden, even peace and joy. And Jesus humbled Himself not only before God but also before man, His own creation, to become a Servant of all. The final act of this emptying was on the cross to be subjected to such cruelty as a common criminal for He came to be in our place of suffering and humiliation due a sinner. It was due to this emptying that God could do through Him all that He wanted.
Jesus completely denied Himself to become an empty vessel ready to be filled by the Father, a vessel of no value gaining all from God. It is in the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus humbled and emptied Himself to become man and this same humility He brought from heaven while Satan filled himself with pride in heaven and brought that pride to the earth. It is this emptying that reveals His truth to become our redemption and joins us to God the Father through His life, death, resurrection and ascension to the same glory and throne that He had from eternity. Through this humbling and emptying our Savior showed our inadequacy for we neither bring humility to God nor derive it from Him. It is a revelation through Lord Jesus that we realize our true worth- nothing, absolute nothing without God and only He being everything for and in us. It is only this realization that can make us of any use to God and for us to totally surrender our wills, minds, emotions and strength to become void of everything to be filled by His life. Lord Jesus revealed this fact of our nothingness before God, a fact that is practiced by the angels and Son of God Himself in heaven that lets God free to be all.
Filling up of the Lord Jesus – The Magi witnessed the star and followed it to worship the Son and offer their gifts and they did not see a child but a ready vessel awaiting God’s glory to reveal that to mankind. Zechariah, the priest looked at his own capabilities and doubted God and was silenced till John the Baptist was born while Mary humbled herself, ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Mary rejoiced in her ‘humble estate’ and exclaimed “He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name” (Luke 1:49). The lower one becomes before God the more abundant is the filling and Mary realized and humbled herself without doubting and was exalted. In the same manner the Lord, the Creator, humbled Himself before the Father in total obedience and became man to be filled with Divine power even when on the earth as a man.
The Holy Spirit was “hovering over the face of the earth” at the time of creation and since God Himself was there to fellowship with Adam and Eve, His Spirit remained outside and over them to guide and lead them. Sin created separation from God and also from His Spirit and the Holy Spirit descended on certain chosen people only to be over them for a specific period and task only. The empowering by the Holy Spirit and grant of His gifts remained a temporary phenomenon. When our Lord came out of the waters of Jordan river after being baptized by John the Baptist it was only the second time that the “heavens were opened” and the Holy Trinity appeared together on the earth after the fulfillment of “Let us make” man in the process of creation. And it was the first time that the Holy Spirit was seen to physically descend on a human being to dwell in him and the process being blessed by the Father in confirmation “This is My begotten Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
God the Father not only confirmed in audible form His relationship with the Lord but also proclaimed His love for Him and it was in this expression and confirmation that the filling up of the Son with Divine power even when in human form was completed. The Son was given the power and authority and everything was made subject to Him. It was the same power that received the Divine Word of “Let there be light” on the earth and revealed the glory of the same Word to fill the universe with that light. It was the same power that operated in the whole creation process in Genesis 1 and 2 that made all invisible things visible. And Lord Jesus was filled with the same power by the Holy Spirit to reveal the glory of the Father to all on the earth.
The power of self and pride that Satan brought with him from heaven was and is in direct contravention to the power of humility brought by the Lord from the same place. Satan attempted to fill and exalt himself while Jesus emptied and humbled Himself. Satan had no power and authority of his own except that given by the Father to “the covering cherub” available for being in Divine presence while the Lord Jesus had all the power and authority as Son of God. The Lord reveals to us the way to receive strength and power is only through humility and knowledge that only God is Supreme and Sovereign and to surrender to Him. He became a channel through which God the Father could then pour out His blessings of love, power, riches of wisdom and goodness. This filling up and empowerment can only come when we realize that all that we have comes from God and He is the only source we can rely upon. Our Lord realized and lived on earth as a servant of God to fulfill Divine will and that is why He could become a servant to even those whom He had created and loved. He repeatedly asserted before the disciples that He was not here to show His power and will but to obey and do only the command and will of the Father as revealed to Him.
The power of the Lord was spiritual and the power of Satan is also in the spiritual realm and we can fight it only through the Power of the Holy Spirit. We have to become aware of its sinful origin, confess and repent of it and seek Divine power to resist and overcome it and only then can we be redeemed from it. Our life can only be in the shadow of the “Tree of Life”, the Lamb of God and only through abiding in Him and letting our roots go deep into Him can we receive the power and continuous nourishment. The same power that brought God from inside the veil to dwell among us, that revealed His glory then and now, that helped Him to empty Himself to be in the ‘lowly manger’, that raised Him from the manger to defeat the Satan through His sacrifice, that placed Him in the tomb, that raised Him from the dead and then raised Him to His original place of glory in the heavens, the same power is available to us to fill us with His power. But it cannot just happen; we have to want it, seek it and prepare ourselves in humble submission to Divine control to be thus filled.
It is only in that state that we can receive His fullness of grace and His life within us to transform us into His image. The reality of human life has been revealed to us in the life of our Savior and to be a Christian is to live that life of being nothing before God and letting Him become everything in and for us. His birth as a Son of man is all about emptying Himself of all glory and power to become like one of us and through His life teach us “to serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13). In His love Lord Jesus descended to die on the cross the death of a criminal, the death for us and in our place and in His ascension and enthronement in heaven, the Father crowned His humility to “give Him a name above every other name”. Love of God for His creation is what brought Him in our midst in our likeness to redeem us and transform us into His likeness.
God is love and His love is manifested to us in the form of the emptiness and servant hood of His Son and even on the throne in heaven He is ever ready to help us in His meekness through His prayers for us. It is His humility that has given and filled us with His Spirit of power to make us eligible to share in His glory through our own humbling before Him. We have to praise and thank God for the Lord and surrender our self before Him!