The Universal Experience of Christ
Ephesians 4:9, 10
(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?


1. It implies that he was low down at some period. Had he always enjoyed his rightful honors there could have been no act of rising to them. The coronation shows that the sovereign had once been a subject. The greatness of the elevation of Christ and the stir and change it produces are significant of the low depth of an earlier state.

2. It implies that he had been highly exalted at a previous period. The mere act of ascension may not show this, but the spiritual character of it does. All things ultimately find their level. The high-shooting fountain is an evidence that its water has come from a great elevation.

3. It implies that by his deep humiliation Christ merited his great exaltation. He did not simply deserve it by way of compensation. He earned the high honor of the Ascension by the patient sacrifice of himself in his descent down to a life of lowly service, down to the cross, down even to the dim land of the dead (Philippians 2:5-11). Thus the last is first, and he who humbled himself is exalted.


1. His presence enters into every grade of being. From his awful primeval glory down to the dread depths of Hades and then up to the throne and the right hand of God, by the vast sweep and range of his profound humiliation and superb exaltation, along every step of existence traversed, Christ comes into personal contact with all life and death.

2. His experience gives him knowledge of every grade of being. And with this knowledge he has sympathy for all. Our lack of wide sympathies is chiefly owing to our narrow experience. Christ's sympathy is as universal as his experience. In his exaltation he does not forget the scenes that moved his heart in lowlier walks.

"... Resting by th' incarnate Lord,
Once bleeding, now triumphant for my sake,
I mark him, how by seraph hosts adored,
He to earth's lowest cares is still awake."

3. Filling all things by experience, knowledge, and sympathy, he has power over all things. Down even to the spirits in prison to whom he preached by the Divine Spirit, and through every rank of life, he has influences to exert, graces to bestow, redemption to accomplish. There is no order of things, beyond the reach of Christ. As the great reward of his sacrifice and triumph, of his deepest humiliation and his highest exaltation, he fills heaven, earth, and hell with a presence which, if he is the same now as when he lived among men, is everywhere healing and redemptive. - W.F.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

WEB: Now this, "He ascended," what is it but that he also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?

The Humiliation and Ascension of Christ
Top of Page
Top of Page