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.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
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.
This passage brings together the great truth about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this post, I want to look briefly at who he is, what he accomplished and his exaltation.
Who he is, the first thing to note from this passage is that he is truly God, he is equal with God in every way and has existed from all eternity. This means that as God he has the same power and love as His heavenly Father. This means that he is full of compassion which explains why he would be willing to leave the glories of heaven for our redemption. He has always been the Lord and is Sovereign over all things and as such is just and holy. God in his holiness cannot overlook sin. Sometimes when we talk about Jesus we forget that he is the holy one and that is to do him a great injustice. He is truly God in every aspect of who he is and he has all the attributes of God In this short post I do not have the space to consider them all but he is the Almighty God the creator of heaven and earth.
Jesus Christ is also truly Man, he humbled himself and came down to earth and was born of the virgin Mary, he then lived a very full human life. It is very important to affirm that Jesus Christ is truly human, it is only as such that he can be our representative before God. It is vital that we affirm his true humanity the New Testament is very clear that as a man Jesus got tired, sometimes he was sad and at other times he was angry with sin. We also read of him being full of compassion for the needy and the lost.
It is important therefore that we maintain that Jesus is God and Man, he is not a mixture of God with humanity but rather truly God and truly Man, this is a great mystery with which the greatest theologians of the Church have wrestled with but who all affirm this to be true and essential for our faith.
What He did. Jesus humbled himself by taking on himself the nature of a servant he could rightly have come as a King but he did not and the reason for this is he came into this world for our salvation. Jesus lived a life of service in obedience to his heavenly Father by which he also works out righteousness for us, his active obedience to his Father is of vital importance to us as part of the plan of Salvation. But in this passage, the emphasis is on the passive obedience of Christ, and his willingness to die upon the cross. The cross was reserved for the worse criminals and the lowest in society, this does not seem the appropriate place for the Son of God to die but he does this for our sake. We need a Saviour who is pure and holy and only Jesus Christ fits this picture, but we also need both a holy man and God to act on our behalf. It was a man that fell and therefore we need a new Adam to save us but because we are fallen there is no way that any ordinary man can pay the price for sin. This is where the marvel of the plan of salvation comes into focus because Jesus could accomplish our salvation because he is both fully man and fully God. It is so important to hold these things together because our salvation depends upon it. Jesus died upon the cross to atone for our sins, he died as our substitute so that he took upon himself the punishment for our sins. There is so much we could say about the Cross but we don’t have space here.
His exaltation. Jesus was willing to die upon the cross therefore God has exalted him above every name above every other name. He is therefore to be regarded as holding a place of highest honour which is why everyone will confess that Jesus is Lord, every knee will bow before him and here we come to the sober truth that some will bow the knee unwillingly while others will the knee rejoicing in the fact that Jesus is their Lord and Saviour. This passage should encourage us to rejoice in the greatness of our salvation and to give the Lord Jesus Christ all the glory that he so richly deserves.