First Things First: The Exaltation of Jesus Christ

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Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-11

 


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.

 

Last week we looked at the first half of this Christ Hymn and the humiliation of Jesus Christ.

And that is a fitting word.  Jesus was not simply humbled, which has a sort of passive and calm undertone.  He was humiliated. He was attacked.  He was viciously made to suffer and was aggressively brought down low.

This was public, this was shameful.  Unlike most cultures throughout history, ours does not deeply value the ideas of honor and shame.  In ancient cultures, there was almost nothing more essential than one’s social standing, and thus almost nothing more devastating than to be brought to shame.

Jesus lived a life full of things that others considered shameful.  Born to poor parents in humble means, to a culture under the thumb of a greater power, living his life as a bondservant for the good of others, being accused, attacked, betrayed, beaten, flogged, tortured, and executed in the most shameful manner possible.

 

And yet, God was with him through it all.  And in the second part of this passage, we see how Jesus is now brought high by virtue of his selfless sacrifices.

 

The challenges of the Christian life are absolutely more than worth it.  There is great glory in store for those who follow Jesus’ example.  We must not forget, though, it is for us to empty and humble ourselves, and for God to exalt and give. We must not seek glory, but seek humility (cf. Luke 14:7-11).  God gives the glory.

And what glory he gives!  Jesus is given the Name above all Names!  This mostly likely refers to the Name God revealed to Moses at the burning bush, the personal covenant name of God, YHWH.  This was already Jesus’ name, since he was God.  This verse is more about the recognition by all people that this is who Jesus really is.

All people will bow down and acknowledge that Jesus is LORD!  Does this mean that all people will be saved?  Some have used this verse as a proof text for universal salvation.

However, this is not the case.  James 2:19 tells that even the demons believe and acknowledge the truth about God, yet it does them no good.  People in hell will recognize finally the truth about Jesus Christ, but it will be too late for this recognition to benefit them.

Lastly we see this is all for the glory of God.  The Father bestows glory on the Son, and the Son does not hoard it but gives glory right back to the Father.

 

Here is an illustration of how this passage describes the path of Jesus’ life:

Phil2.5-11

 

To be a follower of Jesus, to have the mind of Christ, is to live as Christ lived.  To be a Christian is to follow the pattern of Christ.  We lower ourselves, even humiliate ourselves, in submission to the LORD.  And in turn he raises us up with Jesus Christ to heights and glories unimagined.

 

Will this be the path of your life?  Will you humble yourself, and trust God to exalt you at the proper time?  Or will you seek to exalt yourself, only to have the LORD bring you down to learn a lesson?

This week, how can you intentionally and purposefully live as Christ lived, and serve the good of others?  Also be sure to recognize when God has exalted you, and rejoice in those times when he has raised up your cause and allowed his glory to be shown through you!

Like our suffering savior, may the glory of God be known through both our humiliation and our exaltation.  All praise to Jesus Christ the LORD!

 


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

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