Meta & Hypo
Luke 2.51 “And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.”
Meta and hypo are two greek prepositions used in Luke 2.51 to describe the journey of the Lord to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph. We read "He went down with (meta) them and came to Nazareth...". Meta means that he was linked to, or in association with them. This is wonderful testimony to the humility of The Lord Jesus. We read in John 8.29 "He that sent me is with (meta) me, the Father hath not left me alone". The Lord Jesus had always been with the Father for all eternity and though that link was never broken we now see Him associated with poor Galileans on the road to Nazareth. Often, we only associate ourselves with those who are like us or endure for a short time the company of those who are different. Sometimes we spend time with people for what we can get, The Lord Jesus was not like this at all. This was a lifelong link and continued into His public ministry. He was viewed as the carpenter’s son (Mark 6.3), He was called a Nazarene (Matthew 2.23), His credentials as a prophet were scrutinised (John 7.52) and even the legitimacy of His birth was questioned (John 8.41). The fact that He was linked with Nazareth was a cause for reproach all His days, Isaiah 53.3 says "He was despised and rejected of men" (ESV). And yet for all the shame that He endured and all the misrepresentation that He faced we see here that The Lord Jesus gladly went with His earthly guardians down to a place of ill repute. Isaiah 57.15 summarises the truth well; "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit". The Most High God was found with the poor and lowly of this world; this is astounding humility. He left heaven to be with man on earth, in order that man might be with Him in heaven, John 17.24 says “I will that they … whom thou hast given me, be with (meta) me where I am, that they may behold my glory.”
The next preposition is hypo, (meaning under) and is with the word tasso (meaning arranged) making the word subjection (hypotasso). The phrase "and was subject (hypotasso) unto them" is more astounding than the previous phrase "with them". This is the first time the word ‘subject’ appears in the New Testament and immediately we realise that it has nothing to do with rank or intrinsic value but rather role and functionality. Society tells us that submission is inferiority – the first use of the word in the New Testament tells us otherwise. The Lord who is of infinite worth and value arranged Himself under the authority of Jospeh and Mary. In our pride the idea of being under another is jarring, but The Lord Jesus was completely different. He never murmured, never complained, never sought to undermine them nor belittle them – instead He joyfully submitted to them. The Father expressed His delight in these hidden years, when He declared “This is my Beloved Son, in whom, I am well pleased” (Matthew 3.17). All authority had been committed into His hands (John 3.35), all things are under His feet (Ephesians 1.22) and yet we see here that He is subject to others. This is utterly perplexing; how can the Creator be subject to His creatures? The Lord to His servants? The King to His subjects? God to man? And yet this is precisely what we see. The Lord Jesus in His humility and condescension not only comes to earth and descends to Nazareth, but willingly submits to Mary and Joseph. Our only response can be to bow and worship as we gaze at the self-effacement of the Saviour. He forfeits every right and privilege and is found under (hypo) those He has made. Philippians 2.6-7 summarises this truth "Who, being in the form of God ... took upon Him the form of a servant." Hallelujah, what a Saviour.