But I am a worm and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people. Psalm 22:6 KJV
But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people. Psalm 22:6 NASB
The need for significance is one of the basic human drives. We all want to feel as though we have value. Adam was created with value, made in the image and likeness of God. With the fall, however, he lost his sense of significance. He went from being lord over creation to a laborer under the curse placed on creation. “Dust thou art” must have been a very humbling realization for him.
We strive to regain significance in many ways. Educational degrees, careers, possessions, service to others and a myriad of other pathways lend some significance to each human life. None of these is in itself sinful, although the motive may be tainted. A “loss of significance” is inherent in many instances of melancholy and despondency. To awaken with a sense of being looked down upon or not having any importance can be a crushing emotional experience. For each of us, the thought of being insignificant in the eyes of our peers is something against which we would naturally struggle.
There was only one Man Who ever lived for Whom being deemed “a worm” was not a struggle. “He humbled Himself,” is the truth of Philippians 2. Men may have done all they could possibly do to humiliate Him. But He humbled Himself is the reality. He did not seek for significance. He did not struggle to establish His identity that others might respect and honor Him. “He humbled Himself.”
This self-humbling was not a task to which He lent His every effort. For Him, it was His very nature. It was not “despite” being in the form of God that He humbled Himself; it was because He is God that He humbled Himself. In other words, the very nature of deity is humility! God is a self-humbling God. In descending to the point of being deemed a worm and not even a man, the Lord Jesus was expressing His nature, not His victory over natural desires. God is, in essence, the antithesis of pride. Only Christ could say without exaggeration or fabrication, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt 11:29).
The cross was the ultimate expression of man’s estimation of Him. All that natural man valued was absent in Him. All that God valued and delighted in was present in abundance in Him. The result of man’s estimation is that they placed Him on a tree. The result of God’s estimation was that they crucified the “Lord of Glory” (1 Cor 2:8).
Think of how pride is not only the opposite of humility but of faith. Pride is total confidence in self. What does that reveal about faith and the life of the Lord Jesus Christ? Would Hebrews 12:2 which speaks of Him as the author and perfecter of the life of faith shed light on this?