We are officially half way through “Shine Like Stars” — our Bible study on Philippians! This week we dug into Philippians 2:6-11, considered by some theologians as the high point of Paul’s letter. It’s possible that these verses were words to a hymn, poem, confession or creed that the early church used in their gatherings. John Piper calls it “the most glorious picture of Jesus there is.”
We started this week by looking at verses 6-8.
“Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped….”
The “who” in this verse is Jesus. We must not forget that Jesus is God. (Read Colossians 1:15-20 for a look at the supremacy of Christ.) Tony Evans calls Jesus the only “200% person” to ever live. He was 100% human and 100% divine — not an easy concept for us to take in. However, by coming to earth as a human, Jesus limited his “God-ness” and gave up some of his rights and powers of deity.
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity (God) lives in bodily form.” Col. 2:9
Jesus was a man, but He was more.
He limited His power but it kept leaking out.
He was thirsty, because He was human.
Yet He calmed the sea because He was God.
He was hungry and had to eat because He was human.
Then He fed 5,000 people with a few loaves and fish because He was God.
He had to sleep because He was a human.
He got up out of the grave because He is God.
Jesus had access to legions of angels who would have come to His rescue if He had said the word. (Matt. 26:53) But He didn’t use the resources available to Him to ease His own situation. Everything He did, He did for you and me.
“…but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
What is the nature of a servant?
Think about being in a restaurant and having a really good waitress. What are the qualities that make her a great server?
- Others oriented — not being self-absorbed
- Willing to serve everyone — not waiting only on big tippers
- Uncomplaining spirit — not whining about the cook or her aching back
- Hard working — not being lazy
- Observant and attentive — not ignoring the needs of the people
- Faithful — not skipping out when she doesn’t feel like working
Jesus is our example of the ultimate servant.
We look the most like Him when we serve like Him.
Matt Chandler tells about a staff member from his church who always parks in a big puddle in the church parking lot when it rains. It means walking through six inches of water and getting all wet. When asked why he parked there he answered, “I park there so no one else has to.” That’s a good measure of servant-hood — what things can you do that aren’t so pleasant so others don’t have to?
“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”
Jesus knew He came to die. (“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28) That doesn’t mean He was excited about dying, especially the most cruel, torturous, shameful death possible. (“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” Matthew 26:39) He had to become obedient. The humility required of Him was on a level far beyond anything that will ever be required of us. Talk about doing something unpleasant so we wouldn’t have to!
Thanks be to God for Jesus’ sacrifice, His submission to the Father’s plan, His willingness to suffer, His heart to serve! As a result, God exalted His Son and gave Him the title “Lord” – a name high and full of authority. It’s such a powerful name that every knee will bow at the sound of it. Believers will bow in worship and praise. Those who rejected Him will bow, but it will be in bitter agony as they acknowledge His Lordship.
Every tongue will confess — what will that sound like? The absolute totality of all creation will recognize the superiority of Jesus Christ from highest heaven to deepest hell. John confirms this event in his Revelation vision (Rev. 5:11-13). What a day that will be!
With Jesus as our example, here are some questions to consider:
- What am I willing to sacrifice?
- How much am I willing to serve?
- How submissive am I willing to be?
- Am I willing to suffer if my suffering brings glory to God?
Blessings on you as you seek to walk as Jesus walked!