Verse 6. But I am a worm, and no man. This verse is a miracle in language. How could the Lord of glory be brought to such abasement as to be not only lower than the angels, but even lower than men. What a contrast between "I AM" and "I am a worm"! yet such a double nature was found in the person of our Lord Jesus when bleeding upon the tree. He felt himself to be comparable to a helpless, powerless, down trodden worm, passive while crushed, and unnoticed and despised by those who trod upon him. He selects the weakest of creatures, which is all flesh; and becomes, when trodden upon, writhing, quivering flesh, utterly devoid of any might except strength to suffer. This was a true likeness of himself when his body and soul had become a mass of misery -- the very essence of agony -- in the dying pangs of crucifixion. Man by nature is but a worm; but our Lord puts himself even beneath man, on account of the scorn that was heaped upon him and the weakness which he felt, and therefore he adds, "and no man." The privileges and blessings which belonged to the fathers he could not obtain while deserted by God, and common acts of humanity were not allowed him, for he was rejected of men; he was outlawed from the society of earth, and shut out from the smile of heaven. How utterly did the Saviour empty himself of all glory, and become of no reputation for our sakes!
A reproach of men -- their common butt and jest; a byword and a proverb unto them: the sport of the rabble, and the scorn of the rulers. Oh the caustic power of reproach, to those who endure it with patience, yet smart under it most painfully!
And despised of the people. The vox populi was against him. The very people who would once have crowned him then contemned him, and they who were benefited by his cures sneered at him in his woes. Sin is worthy of all reproach and contempt, and for this reason Jesus, the Sin bearer, was given up to be thus unworthily and shamefully entreated.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6. But I am a worm, and no man. A fisherman, when he casts his angle into the river, doth not throw the hook in bare, naked and uncovered, for then he knows the fish will never bite, and therefore he hides the hook within a worm, or some other bait, and so, the fish, biting at the worm, is caught by the hook. Thus Christ, speaking of himself, saith, "Ego vermis et non homo." He, coming to perform the great work of our redemption, did cover and hide his Godhead within the worm of his human nature. The grand water serpent, Leviathan, the devil, thinking to swallow the worm of his humanity, was caught upon the hook of his divinity. This hook stuck in his jaws, and tore him very sore. By thinking to destroy Christ, he destroyed his own kingdom, and lost his own power for ever. Lancelot Andrewes.
Verse 6. I am a worm. Christ calls himself "a worm"... on account of the opinion that men of the world had of him... the Jews esteemed Christ as a worm, and treated him as such; he was loathsome to them and hated by them; every one trampled upon him, and trod him under foot as men do worms... The Chaldee paraphrase renders it here a weak worm; and though Christ is the mighty God, and is also the Son of man, whom God made strong for himself; yet there was a weakness in his human nature, and he was crucified through it, 2 Corinthians 13:4 : and it has been observed by some, that the word (t[lwt) there used signifies the scarlet worm, or the worm that is in the grain or berry with which scarlet is dyed: and like this scarlet worm did our Lord look, when by way of mockery he was clothed with a scarlet robe; and especially when he appeared in his dyed garments, and was red in his apparel, as one that treadeth in the wine fat; when his body was covered with blood when he hung upon the cross, which was shed to make crimson and scarlet sins as white as snow. John Gill.
Verse 6. I am a worm. An humble soul is emptied of all swelling thoughts of himself. Bernard calls humility a self annihilation. Job 22:29 . "Thou wilt save the humble;" in the Hebrew it is, "Him that is of low eyes." An humble man has lower thoughts of himself than others can have of him; David, though a king, yet looked upon himself as "a worm:" "I am a worm, and no man." Bradford, a martyr, yet subscribes himself "a sinner." Job 10:15 . "If I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head:" like the violet a sweet flower, but hangs down the head. Thomas Watson.
Verse 6. A worm. So trodden under foot, trampled on, maltreated, buffeted and spit upon, mocked and tormented, as to seem more like a worm than a man. Behold what great contempt hath the Lord of Majesty endured, that his confusion may be our glory; his punishment our heavenly bliss! Without ceasing impress this spectacle, O Christian, on thy soul! Dionysius, quoted by Isaac Williams.
Verse 6. I am a worm. Among the Hindus, when a man complains and abhors himself, he asks; "What am I! a worm! a worm!" "Ah, the proud man!" he regarded me as a worm, well should I like to say to him, "We are all worms." "Worm, crawl out of my presence." Joseph Roberts.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 6-18. Full of striking sentences upon our Lord's suffering.