2003-08-26 - Enanthropesis
Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
I am not really making up a new word, but I don't think this is a word that we all toss around at cocktail parties. Of course I don't run in such high brow circles. I have never even been to a cocktail party in my life. So, what do I know? Maybe they are all about enanthropesis. Somehow I doubt it. I digress greatly.
The word was used by many of the ancient church fathers. It is in reference to the incarnation of Christ and the closest we can come to it is another form of the word in Greek that is found in the verse quoted above, "He humbled." Many have simply taken the concept simply as, "The word became flesh," (John 1:14). But it means much more than that. The word implies the complete humility that God endured when He took on the nature of man. He humbled Himself. God, the creator of the world, the sustainer, provider, and ruler of all things humbled Himself and became like us. That is utter humility and that is what this word signifies. It tells us of the total humility of our Lord.
I would like to quote the Baptist preacher of the 19th century Charles Haddon Spurgeon here because he really hits this topic well. I wish I could tell you where I got this quote, but it is one that I guess I just got while reading one of his sermons, (I'm not even a Baptist, but I love my Spurgeon). "Sing, sing, O Universe! till thou hast exhausted thyself: thou canst not afford a song so sweet as the song of incarnation. Though creation may be a majestic organ of praise, it cannot reach the compass of the golden canticle, incarnation. There is more in that than in creation, more melody in Jesus in the manger than there is in the worlds on worlds, rolling in grandeur round the throne of the Most High."
Spurgeon hits the nail on the head. The incarnation of Christ, while a great mystery, is something we should never lose sight of. God humbled Himself. God became man. It is as Spurgeon says, "the golden canticle." There is, "melody in Jesus." We can never lose sight of these truths. In Christ there is enanthropesis. He humbled Himself. Without the humility of Christ coming to earth in His incarnation your soul would be lost forever in sin. My soul would be lost in sin. We are right to think often, more often than we probably do, about the grandeur of the Lord's incarnation, His death for our sins, and His resurrection from the dead.
"Filling the world he lies in a manger!" Augustine
Soli Deo Gloria,