First Things First: The Humiliation of Jesus Christ

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And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:8

 


Mr. Matthew Pannkuk – Chaplain, Bible Teacher

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

We were told in 2:3-4 to put the interest of others above our own and to consider others more significant than ourselves.  The only way to do that, given our fallen and selfish nature, is to have a mind renewed by Jesus Christ to think in an unselfish and righteous way.

And, to the praise of God, that is exactly what has happened!

We who are Christians are united to Christ.  Therefore, we do indeed have the mind of Christ.

It is ours!

We don’t need to search for it, investigate it, research it, or earn it. We already have it!  We only need to claim it, to embrace it, to live it out, to recognize what is ours and then utilize what we already have.

In many ways the Christian life is like someone who inherits a giant mansion with a large estate around it.  We step into the main foyer and are awed by its splendor and majesty; we sit there, eat there, sleep there, and are content there.  Yet we have an entire mansion to explore!  Dozens of more rooms, hundreds of acres, riches and treasures beyond imagination.

Do not be content to stay in the foyer of your Christian life!  Discover all the wonders God has given to you in Christ.

 

Now, even though the Christian life is joyous and wonderful, it is not only that.  Because we live in a sinful and fallen world, our affluent grounds are under attack.  Sin is still at work in the outside world, laying siege against the church.

Jesus tells us we are soldiers who must prepare for battle.  Yet the battle is not fought as we might think.

We win by losing.  We rise by falling.  We live by dying.  We are exalted only if first humbled.

 

These verses are known as a Christ Hymn (another example is Colossians 1:15-20).  These verses are unique, set apart from the standard prose of the rest of the letter.  Perhaps Paul wrote it as a poem, either directly for this letter or previously and included it here as it fit his point.  Perhaps someone else wrote it and Paul is merely quoting it as we would a song lyric.

In any case, this passage reveals to us some of the deeps truths of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This Hymn recounts Christ’s Humiliation and Exaltation.

To be exalted, we must first be humbled (cf. Luke 14:11; 18:14).  And no one suffered humiliation like Jesus Christ.  Let us reflect on the ways he suffered for our sake:

  • Limited himself and did not claim his full rights to power and honor as God.
  • Left the glories of heaven for the drudgery of earth.
  • Became a human, a lowly baby.
  • Not only a human, but a poor human at that.
  • Not only a poor human, but one who spent his life serving others.  In that culture, the greatest shame possible was to be a slave (Greek: doulos, the same word here translated as “servant”).  Jesus took this role willingly.
  • Not only a slave, but a dead man.  Willing to die and experience the pangs of death.
  • Not only death, but death on a cross.  The most excruciating, shameful, disgusting form of execution imaginable.  It took hours and hours of torturous time to finally die, as the crowds walked past you and insulted you.
  • Not only crucifixion, but separation from the Father.  On the cross, because Christ bore the full weight of our sin upon himself, the Father had to turn his face away.  Nothing could be more tragic.

Yet that is not the end of the story!  Next week we will look at the exaltation of Jesus Christ, and the glories that await the one who became so poor that we might become so rich.

 

This week, ponder again how much Christ went through for us.  How much he lost, how much he gave, how much he suffered, how great was his humiliation.

Think about how you can follow his example, how you can be the servant of someone else, how you could die to yourself so that others may live more abundantly.

If you find it hard to humble yourself in that way, remember that the very mind that moved Christ to humble himself is already and always available to you.  So have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus!

 

 


Twin Oaks Christian School, a ministry of Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church

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