God is immense.
He spread the universe with one wave of his hand; billions of galaxies spanning light years, completely unseen and unreachable by man. This same God created the intricacies of our bodies that are complex to an extent that we can’t even grasp the science of it. If we haven’t figured out the mysteries and complexities of nature (what we can see), then how can we expect to even begin to comprehend the magnitude of almighty God?
This same spectacular, holy God who did all these things and veils himself from our eyes lest we die from exposure to his awesome presence; this same God made his immeasurable self to be contained with the skin of mortal man. Even lower yet, he was formed and grew through the cellular process of the womb and birth. How could it even be possible? And why would he do such a thing for this one little speck in the vast universe, one in which we are individually even more infinitesimal? We have not a true concept of how fragile and small our existence really is.
But he goes lower still. Jesus was heir to an eternal throne established at the beginning of time. He would reign from a throne of glory with unchallengeable power. No one would be higher or more glorious than he; yet his birth was missed almost entirely by the world at large. The world that he had made with a simple exhalation of his breath did not have room for him in the city he himself had established. The world hadn’t even seen him yet, and it refused him a place. The only available space for him was in a dirty, smelly barn. The only place he had to lay his head was a bed of hay from which farm animals would feed. Was this the means of entrance for a King?
But he goes lower still. The intrigue and mystery surrounding his miraculous conception did not go over well with a world whose eyes were blind to the touches of heaven around them. His whole life he would be condemned by many as an illegitimate child. His brothers and sisters would question him and his purpose. He would lose the support of community and family.
But he goes lower still. All throughout his ministry, his disciples would question him, his methods and his teachings. It was coming slowly, but they still didn’t understand. In the end, his three closest friends would sleep while he sweat drops of blood. When he needed them the most, they nodded off. Then came the soldiers. And all those who swore to never leave him had fled. He was left alone to face the false charges of a biased judge and jury driven by a self-righteous induced rage. They couldn’t stand the sight of him. Little did they know that this same man was the embodiment of the God whom no one could stand before without being condemned to death themselves. They didn’t realize that they had looked on the face of God and had lived to tell about it. In a cataclysmic shift, God himself would die instead.
But he goes lower still. The God who uses the world for his footstool, who measures the skies with the length of his hand, who could dip his finger in the ocean and touch the deepest sea vents at the bottom — this same God couldn’t even carry a beam of wood up a hill. He was weak and wounded, bloody, dirty and sweaty. The roughness of the wood scraped abrasions into his already open wounds. He stumbled. His breath heaved heavy over dry lips. The sun bore down into red, tired eyes. So tired. Eyes full of determination and understanding and forgiveness — and dread.
But he goes lower still. But first he must be raised, and raised high. Not on the regal throne for which he was born, but dangling in the air, held up by nails in hands and feet. He is crowned as King, but not with nobility. Thorns encircle his temples and drive deep into his skin. The crown glitters, not with precious jewels, but with hot drops of blood running red into his tired eyes; his body, bared in shame to the mocking, angry masses who gathered around his aching feet.
But he goes lower still. The burden of sin heaves itself onto his shoulders. Nailed to a beam of wood, he still has the choice of removing himself from this place of unimaginable pain. All he need do is call on the hosts of heaven and his liberation would be swiftly accomplished. He was not a prisoner to the nails. As the weight of sin on a sinless man reaches completion, his perfection can bear no more and he cries with exhausted triumph, “It is finished!” The world so blind to glory is turned black as Satanic forces revel in their victory. Little did they know that Jesus had entered the temple, had grabbed the veil that kept us divided from him in knuckled strength, and ripped the tapestry top to bottom with one swift jerk.
But he goes lower still. All the way to hell. While Satan celebrates in front of a limp and lifeless body, Jesus pulls the keys to hell out of his back pocket and sets the captives free. Death could not hold him. Nothing will ever hold him.
He went low. He made himself small. He gave it all away to gain all and become everything.
By making himself low and small, he is highly exalted and glorious. Perfected and eternal.
Jesus is King.
Samantha Trenkamp is a member of Wellspring Mennonite Church in Athens, Tenn. She works as publications editor for DestiNations International and blog editor for the newly formed media group Anabaptist Perspectives. She blogs at Come into the Fields, where this post first appeared.