The fact that Jesus became “formless and empty” is shown throughout Scripture. Isaiah 53 prophesies:
“For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form [no form] or majesty That we should look upon Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him…He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a Lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.” (Isa. 53:2-3, 7, NASB)
The Apostle Paul also explains how Jesus became “formless and empty”:
“Christ Jesus…although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil. 2:5-9, NASB)
Even the Gospels seem to liken Christ’s death to Genesis 1:2 by relating how darkness covered the “earth”. “Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour” (Matt. 27:45), Jesus voluntarily gave himself, submitting to the Father through the darkness—the very thing that Egypt and Saul were unwilling to do. At about the ninth hour when the darkness had almost reached its fullness, “Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying…‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). It cannot get any darker than that! Yet was there any other time in history where God was more near, more manifest than on the cross? Was there ever a greater time when the “Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”? Here at the cross God had come to dwell in thick darkness! (Exo. 20:21, Psa. 18:11, 1 Kings 8:12).
As we learned in the last chapter it was God’s hiddenness—the withdrawal of his glory—that brought about creation. This withdrawal of God’s glory was paradoxically the revelation of his glory through creation. In the same way at the cross, God forsakes himself to give himself. He loses his life to create life.
The total abandonment that Jesus demonstrated for his Father (expressed in the cross) is what caused “the veil of the temple [to be] torn in two from top to bottom” (Matt. 27:51, NKJV). It is this same total abandonment to the Father that will tear the veil over people’s eyes today! Only as we become one with Jesus on the cross—enduring suffering, silence, formlessness, emptiness and darkness with patient endurance—will the blinders be taken away from people’s eyes. Remember, it was as the Roman soldier saw the cross that he finally saw Christ for who he really was. In that moment of revelation he exclaimed, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matt. 27:54, NKJV).
Prayer: Lord, open up my eyes to see the glory of the cross. And may I become one with that cross and say with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live.”