Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, March 26, 2022
Growing in Love for God 9
by David Harwood
To stimulate our love for our God let’s continue to concentrate on God’s humility.
In the incarnation God was not forcibly debased, He humbled Himself and endured the disgrace. In doing so He did not act against His nature, He revealed it.
We have pondered the power of the love which was so strong as to provoke this humility. Let’s explore this.
How humble is He? There is no sentient being more humble than our Creator. He showed us this in the incarnation of the Ben-Elohim.
He was crucified.
In the big picture of humanity’s history this is almost trivial. Most likely hundreds of thousands were crucified. A few hundred years before Rome practiced this cruel and not-so-very-unusual punishment, the Phoenicians employed it. Alexander the Great crucified people. Rome was a Johnny-come-lately to this evil manifestation of a zealous determination to humiliate, torture, terrorize populations and kill malefactors.
Upon researching this practice I can tell you it was worse than I imagined. The depictions I’ve studied and seen hardly compare to the descriptions of crucifixion I’ve recently read. Remember, Romans watched people kill each other, fight animals to the death, or be offered up as victims to predators, as entertainment. For all their veneer of virtue it was a death soaked, ugly, brutal culture which liked watching things die.
These executioners were bored thrill seekers. The records of things done to those they crucified indicate that they had fun as they exercised their depraved imaginations. Like those jaded in the pursuit of fulfilling an insatiable lust they excelled in inflicting pain and humiliating their victims. Imagine the actions of cruel, carnal, emotionally calloused, men who killed and tortured for a livelihood.
Better yet, don’t. Don’t go there.
Here’s a principle pertaining to humiliation and humility. The higher one’s status the greater the potential for humiliation.
For instance, if I were to be arrested and sentenced to a year in jail I would be humiliated. If the PM of the UK was arrested and incarcerated it would be a greater experience of shame. The international news media, political cartoonists, late night comics, talk radio, social media, political adversaries and various memes would concentrate on the Prime Minister. They would pour it on. Would I get the same treatment? No.
Also, the more exalted one’s status the sharper the pain of humiliation. This has relevance to the wonder of the Messiah’s humiliation.
Consider Yeshua. We’re exhorted to thoroughly think it through.
Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners. (Hebrews 12:3a NET)
Who was opposed? Who was crucified? Who was lifted up as an object of scorn?
The exalted one, God the Son. How exalted? Take a look at this short section of Scripture.
This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet, who said, “Adonai, who has believed our report? To whom has the arm of Adonai been revealed?”
For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah also said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they might not see with their eyes nor understand with their hearts and turn back, and I would heal them.”
Isaiah said these things because he saw His glory and spoke of Him. (John 12:38–41 TLV)
In John 12:38-41 the Apostle John merged the revelation of the LORD’s despised, forsaken Messiah (John 12:38; Isaiah 53) with a description of the enthroned Holy One (John 12:40; Isaiah 6:10). John wrote that these two views of the same person combined as an outshining of glory. He wrote of King Yeshua: glorious in humility, resplendent in pre-existent glory.
There is a building in Dubai that is 163 stories tall. If one were to start at the top floor and descend via the stairs it would take a lot more effort to get to ground level than walking out my home’s front door.
It’s like that with the Lord leaving the highest place and taking the lowest.
Nobody was more humble than Yeshua. Nobody ever suffered greater humiliation. Recall: He humbled Himself because He loved us. How much must He love us to humble Himself to the extent of being crucified?
His love that motivated a humility which stretched out to ultimate humiliation is beyond the reach of any other. Nobody ever shared His glory. Nobody can ever share the degree of His humility. Nobody ever loved us like He loved, loves, and will always love us.
May the Ruach of the living God make this real to us again, that we might reciprocate.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 26-Mar-2022 23rd of Adar II, 5782 Parashat Shmini Shabbat Parah
Le 11:33-47 Ez 36:16-38 Heb 9:11-15