In Philippians 2:7-8, Paul reminded us to behold Christ Jesus, who is morphē theos(form of God) pour out (kenoō) himself by taking morphē doulos (form of servant) and “being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”(verse 8 ESV).
In From The King Of Glory To The King Of Shame, I tried to recapture the gravity of Christ Jesus’ humiliation, which could be missed by a 21st century Christians due to the enormous traditions and cultural gulf between our times and that of Paul’s.
Paul urge Philippians to behold the God who is before all things, and the Lord in whom all things hold together (Col 1:17), the Adonai, who laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of his hands. The God who everything will perish, but he remain; the God who everything will wear out like a garment, like a robe he will roll them up, like a garment everything will be changed but He is the same. The God whose years will have no end (Hebrew 1:10-12).
The God who humble himself and took on flesh (John 1:14), and the God who became obedient to the point of death, yes, a most miserable death of a naked criminal nailed on the cross. The King, crowned with the crown of thorns. Betrayed. Deserted. Mocked: “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” Yes, the God in flesh breathed his last as he hanged on the cursed tree (Deut. 21:23).
If that was the end, we would have joined Luke’s two fellow’s, going to Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, sorrow and despair: “we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel”(Luke 24). O Hallelujah it did not end that way. As Paul of Tarsus delivered to us as of first importance what he also received(1 Cor 15):
that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,and
that he appeared to Cephas,
then to the twelve.
Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
Then he appeared to James,
then to all the apostles
“It is true! The Lord has risen!”. But there is more. Philippians 2:9-11 awesomely and powerfully awake Christians to behold how Jesus Christ’s obedience resulted in his Father’s exaltation of Him to the place of highest honor. The nailed King of the Jews, crowned with thorns, who died on the cross has resurrected, ascended to heaven and he is exalted, gloried and sitted at the Father’s right hand (Acts 2:33; Heb. 1:3). He is the King of Glory. The King who every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth. (V10)
God the Father “has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name”. This name is not merely a title; but it his personhood and position of dignity and honor. It the name “that is above every name”. It is a name that every nations, powers and authorities will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Isaiah 45:23), to the glory of God the Father.
Robert P. Lightner argued that the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord is the earliest Christian creed. He wrote: “This, the earliest Christian creed, meant that Jesus Christ is Yahweh-God. One day all will be made to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is all He claimed to be—very God of very God.”(Walvoord & Zuck: 1983: ed)
How Does All This Apply To Our Ordinary Lives
We are encouraged by Paul to confidently humble ourselves looking not only to their own interests but also to look for the interests of others knowing that God is faithful and he will reward us in lifting us up for his Glory. Christians are to seek unity(not uniformity) through humility. We ought humble ourselves not for glory of our character or attitude, but to the glory of God the Father.
Struggle for power and authority should not be found in Christianity, but rather a humble attitudes of serving one another. Wiersbe captured this when he wrote: “ The kind of rivalry that pits Christians against Christians, and ministry against ministry is not spiritual, nor is it satisfying. It is vain, empty. Jesus humbled Himself for others, and God highly exalted Him; and the result of this exaltation is glory to God”(Wiersbe: 1996: ed)
From the King of Glory to the King of Shame, from the King of Shame to the exalted King of Glory. In Christ Jesus’ perfect humility, we are transformed from dust to glory. Paul is asking us to freely walk as Christ walked, we are called to humble ourselves for the glory of God the Father.
Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary: An exposition of the scriptures (Php 2:6–8). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Php 2:5). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.