But we see Jesus,
who was made a little lower than the angels
for the suffering of death,
crowned with glory and honor
that, apart from God,
he should taste death for everyone.*
…Christ Jesus, who
being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be held onto;
rather, he made himself nothing,
taking on the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…**
We ourselves are creatures longing always for glory and exaltation. When we receive the promises of God, we receive their glory: eternal rest, neverending day, ceaseless joy. We grasp the hand of God in faith that we may be pulled up to higher planes. We are climbing Jacob's ladder, up, up, up. We envision ourselves as swallows, flying higher and still higher out of darkness and into glory---where we belong.
But we see the crucified demonstration of Godness is expressed in words like
Nothingness, Deadness, Apartness, Lowness.
Sin flipped the world, and into that inverted darkness came the Son of God, swooping down like a bat, that upside down creature for whom up is down and down is up. The end of a bat's journey is hanging upside down in darkness.
He placed himself as a sinner among sinners.
He placed himself fully under the judgment under which the world stands.
He placed himself there where God can only be present as a questioning after God.
At his highest, at the goal of his journey, He is a purely negative entity:
by no means a genius, by no means one of occult psychic power,
by no means a hero, leader, poet, or thinker: and precisely in this negation
("my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?")...***
Christ was nailed to a cross. His head was toward heaven and his feet were toward earth, but as he hung there, everything was upside down. Glory was ignominy, shame was exaltation, forsakeness was redemption, separation was reconciliation, lastness was firstness, lowness was highness. He hung like a bat in the kingdom of men.
***Karl Barth, "Der Romerbrief," (Rom 3:22)