A good friend of mine named Michael Walker recently preached a sermon called “The Humiliation of the Word.” He based it on John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” Michael’s premise was this: the only way for the Father to be made known was for the Word, Jesus Christ, to be sent in the weakness and humiliation of a human life marked by the cross.
The implications of this are staggering. “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you,” Jesus said to his disciples (John 20:21). In other words, just as grace and truth have been made known through the suffering humiliation of Jesus Christ, so his disciples are called to make him known through lives of suffering love and weakness. As my friend Michael put it, “Intimacy with Christ is always the source of strength through which we can endure the path of suffering love, the position of weakness – it is never an escape from it.”
We live in a culture in which the church is no longer the dominant influence over society, and no longer shapes the pattern of behavior and belief in the surrounding culture. Some Christians have responded to this reality by working for the re-creation of a Christian culture, in which the church would again possess a place of dominance. But our call is not to witness to Jesus Christ through grasping for power and control, but through embodying the gospel in a way that demonstrates his suffering love for the world, that welcomes the place of weakness.
What would our lives and our churches look if we were to pursue not positions of power but of weakness? How would your life be transformed? How might this alter where you live, how you shop, who you spend time with, how you use your money? Consider the humiliation of the Word and let your life be changed.