Are you feeling condescended to lately? You're not the only one. We have a government deciding to change society in ways not seen since the days of Noah. We have political groups decreeing what our children should learn, what they should eat, what they should believe. We have evolutionists treating Christians as fools for believing in a literal 6-day creation and a God who loves and is active in the world. We have rabid feminists condescending to humble housewives for their biblical but unfashionable view of marriage. Condescension by others is really irritating.
The Merriam-Webster describes condescension as
- voluntary descent from one's rank or dignity in relations with an inferior
- patronizing attitude or behavior
Condescension at the hands of our fellow human beings is virtually always the latter definition. We all do it at some point, even unwittingly, when we consider ourselves in some way superior to another human being and forget that we are dust and will return to dust. Yet, when God does it, it turns into something amazing.
Can you believe that God, the Creator of the Universe would condescend, would come down to earth, to commune with humans who hate him? It is a mind-boggling thought. That is exactly what He did.
It’s almost understandable His coming down and speaking with the pre-fallen Adam, when everything was clean and uncorrupted. He would visit with him in the cool of the day; they would walk together. I wonder what they discussed. Adam was perfect, so think Einstein on steroids. I imagine God explained things to him that we are only now beginning to comprehend. The Maker of Heaven and earth condescended to these perfect, sinless human beings. Yet, Satan beguiled Eve with a promise that eating of that fruit would make them like God, knowing good from evil. Knowing evil, indeed. What a vicious, cruel joke. Oh, what bitter, bitter fruit. When the Lord came to confront them, He had a plan already, right there in the garden, to condescend fully and completely to His creation. Adam and Eve didn’t understand exactly what Satan promised. Yes, God revealed goodness through His creation and experienced evil through the rebellion of Satan and his angels. Eve ate of the fruit and internalized the evil of which she partook. Today, we too know that evil from the inside. We are born evil, in sin our mothers conceived us (see Psalm 51:5). As the Lord Jesus said, “It’s not what goes into a person that defiles them, it’s what comes out of them” (See Matt 15:11).
The disciples didn’t understand who Christ was, until after He had already ascended into Heaven and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). This wasn’t because of a lack of declarations by Christ about whom He was. He made plenty of those and demonstrated the truth of His claims through His actions and fulfillment of scripture. They were still blinded by visions of a worldly kingdom with material wealth and power. They had yet to discover that God’s power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9), and that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).
Christ told the Pharisees “Before Abraham was, I am.” He made numerous other “I am” statements throughout His time on earth, culminating in “I am He” which He made when they came to arrest him. Those simple words, uttered by the God of Heaven were enough to send grown men flat on their backs (See John 18:6). But He condescended to be handed over, to be scourged, mocked, despised, lifted up to draw us to Himself, murdered, taken down and placed in a newly hewn tomb. That was always His mission. The entirety of scripture is about that – the Seed of Woman being bruised by Satan in order to crush his head.
God’s plan of perfect condescension is reflected in Isaiah’s prophecy,
Thank you, dear Lord for condescending to us. Thank you for taking our sins and filth upon yourself, for carrying our burdens and restoring Your creation unto Yourself.
This Sunday, when we attend church and the Divine Service, our God will once again condescend to us. He will absolve us of our sins, and let us eat of the Tree of Life, His body and blood, given for our sins.
What glorious condescension.