To Be Like Jesus
By Jeff Cranston
Philippians 2:6-11 is referred to by Bible scholars as the “Christ Hymn.” It is thought to be a song or creed used in the worship of the early church, and they profoundly expressed the willing sacrifice and surrender of Jesus Christ, who came to earth in human form in order to carry out His mission of redemption. While on earth, Jesus obediently endured humiliation, even the ultimate humiliation and degradation of crucifixion. This obedience is rewarded with sublime exaltation that commands universal worship.
Let’s take a closer look at these verses:
Equality with God
… who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped … – Philippians 2:6, NASB
Jesus existed in the form of God. “Form” here means a true and exact nature of something, possessing all of the characteristics and qualities of something. So, having the form of God was also having equality with God.
… but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. – Philippians 2:7, NASB
Not only did Jesus not try to clutch at divine majesty, He willingly relinquished his exalted position and laid aside His divine privileges to become a human being.
… taking the form of a bond-servant …
Jesus was recognized as a rabbi, but He spent much of his time with ordinary people and even outcasts, caring for them and ministering to them. Jesus did not just condescend to become a human being; He became a person of lowly status, a slave.
… Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:8, NASB
For the Romans at Philippi, verse 8 would have made a profound, almost incomprehensible statement. The Romans and Greeks considered honor, glory and pride as virtues. Shame and humility were seen as a despised weakness.
Jesus Christ’s exaltation
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name … – Philippians 2:9, NASB
The very name of “Jesus” is being elevated and honored. “For this reason …” indicates that Jesus is granted this honor because of His humility and obedience.
Cosmic praise and worship
… so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:10-11, NASB
Sometime in the future, everything in the universe will acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ; and that He is the true Messiah. Philippians 2 is a prelude to the day when all of creation will resound with universal praise to Jesus.
In the beginning of Chapter 2, Paul appealed to the church to be unified, and he pointed to Christ as our example. And we are reminded to be like Him.
Have you offered someone peace today?
Have you brought a smile to someone’s face?
Have you forgiven?
Have you loved?
God the Father has made Jesus the supreme example; make Him yours as well. Let Him always be your Lord Jesus.
Jeff Cranston is lead pastor at LowCountry Community Church in Bluffton, S.C.