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Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)
We come to the fifth step in our Lord’s humiliation – He humbled Himself.
When we consider the Greek word (σχῆμα schēma) translated “appearance” in this verse, we see that Paul is saying that to the eyes of man, Jesus appeared as a man. Paul had already referred to His form and likeness (morphe and homoioma) in the preceding verses. His form (his nature) and his likeness (resembling man, but not totally the same) included his being 100% God. But, to the naked eye of man, he appeared as only a man.
Often when we think we are something, an event will happen to humble us in front of others. We are often “put in our place.” However, the Greek in this passage makes it clear that Jesus chose to humble Himself. He did this by placing Himself under subjection to the Will of the Father. He subjected Himself to do whatever the Father chose for Him to do.
This leads to the sixth downward step – He became obedient to the point of death. Death is not natural. God created man to live for eternity. Man dies because of transgression – sin. I don’t want to die – it is not natural for an individual to desire death. However, Jesus was born with the express purpose of dying.
He came with the express purpose of dying so that we won’t have to. By Adam, sin entered the world, bringing death in its wake. But Jesus came into the world to conquer death and thus free all who will receive the gift of eternal life. Christ’s death was voluntary, vicarious, and victorious.
The final downward step of Christ’s humiliation is in the last phrase, “even death on a cross.” The cross was the cruelest and most inhumane mode of execution that man had come up with. To be crucified was torturous and marked man’s lowest form of humiliation. It was the most disgraceful form of execution.
Why did he come from the highest glory to this lowest place of humiliation? Remember when we spoke of others in verses 3 and 4? He left His majestic glory in Heaven to come to earth, live the life of a man, a peasant, and suffer the cruel death of a criminal for others. He did it for you and for me. This is the mind of Christ – the humiliation of our Jesus Christ. It is essential that we worship and praise him for this. He left the splendor for the squalor by being submissive to the Father to substitute Himself for us.
The important word in this verse is death. A Greek figure of speech called anadiplois where the words are repeated to mark the emphasis of this being the most important part of the sentence. The Greek reads in this point mechri thanatou, thanatou de staurou, translated literally as unto death, death of the cross. The two underlined words show that Paul is emphasizing that the final act of Christ’s humiliation was his submission unto death. Jesus was never subject to death; death was at all times subject to him. He was subject to the Father and thus allowed death to be his legal punishment for the sin of mankind. We must remember that without his voluntarily vicarious sacrifice on the cruel cross of mankind, there would be no way that anyone would ever be allowed into the presence of the Father.
 See Romans 5:12 – 21; Romans 3:23; and Romans 6:23.
 Vicarious means that His death was a substitution for the believers. In other words, he substituted himself for them upon the cross. Jesus hung in our place as he bore our sin in his body on the cross. See 1 Pet. 2:24.
 E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1968). Pages 251-255.