1998.) Philippians 2 Christmas Thoughts

The Face of Christ — detail from the Crucifixion from the Isenheim Altarpiece, c. 1512-16

Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)

Imitating Christ’s Humility

A hymn of praise to Jesus!

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

phil2-newborn

Jesus took “the form of a bond-servant being made in the likeness of men” (2:7b). Paul could have said that Jesus took on the form of a human being. That would be humiliation enough for God. There is a general Greek word for humanity that Paul could have used here, or he could have used a word that means a male as opposed to a female. But Paul uses neither of these. Instead, he chooses the more specific term doulos, which means “slave” or “bond-servant.” In other words, Jesus became a particular kind of man, a slave, the lowest position a person could become in the Roman world. He wasn’t born in a mansion or a king’s palace, but in a dirty stable among the animals. The Almighty God appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The King of the Universe, the Lord of glory, voluntarily became a pauper for our sake. He had to borrow a place to be born, a boat to preach from, a place to sleep, a donkey to ride upon, an upper room to use for the last supper, and a tomb in which to be buried. He created the world but the world did not know Him. He was insulted, humiliated, and rejected by the people He made. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation. Jesus went as low as He could possibly go. This means no matter what you go through, no matter how low you may get, you can never sink so far that Jesus cannot get under you and lift you up. He can identify with you in any situation, no matter how hard: poverty, loneliness, homelessness, rejection, you name it.

–Keith Krell (senior pastor of Fourth Memorial Church in Spokane, WA and associate professor of biblical exposition at Moody Bible Institute–Spokane)

8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

phil2-nail-and-cross

Jesus descended the ladder and arrives at the bottom rung in 2:8. This verse reminds us that Jesus “humbled himself.” No one humbled Jesus; He willingly and graciously offered Himself to death. The implication is that you and I should do the same. As you read this verse, it is easy to sense Paul’s astonishment. He can’t believe that Jesus—God Himself—died! But to think that He experienced “even death on a cross” is mindboggling! The Romans reserved the agonizing death of crucifixion for slaves and foreigners, and the Jews viewed death on a cross as a curse from God. Crucifixion was a horrible way to die. The weight of the victim’s body hanging from his wrists caused his joints to dislocate as he tried to push up on his feet to breathe and keep from suffocating. Eventually, the victim was no longer able to push himself up and finally suffocated. Jesus endured that horrible trauma, not to mention the spikes through His wrists or the pain of the cross’ rough wood scraping against His back, shredded from the beating He had received with a cat-of-nine-tails. Jesus suffered as no one else, but it wasn’t the physical pain that caused Him the most suffering. Neither was it the taunting and humiliation He endured from His enemies as they watched Him die. The agony Jesus endured on the cross was the abandonment He suffered as God the Father turned His back on His son (Matt 27:46). The price that Jesus paid for humankind is staggering. Paul urges you to ponder the wonder of Jesus. As you reflect upon Him today, may you be overwhelmed by all this great God has accomplished for you.

–Keith Krell

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Isaiah 43:11 (ESV)

I, I am the LORD,
   and besides me there is no savior.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Chris Tomlin and “Name of Jesus.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
The Face of Christ.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/222497257ethe-face-of-christ-detail-from-the-crucifixion-from-the-isenheim-altarpiece-circa-1512-16-posters255b1255d.jpg
obedience of Christ.  http://www.tracts.com/slave5.gif
baby boy.   http://www.courtneydickersonphotography.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/NolanWEB-3-of-271(pp_w850_h566).jpg
nail and cross.   http://www.klarionkall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/nail-and-cross.jpg
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