Philippians: Humility

October 4, 2017

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth…” (Philippians 2:8-10)

“He humbled Himself.” It is impossible for us to grasp the depth of this statement, to understand the intensity of what God is telling us here. He who made the cosmos and all humanity, who knew the hearts of all men and had full authority over them, humbled Himself and allowed Himself to be executed by men. But not just any execution- a public, humiliating criminal’s death on a cross.

The early church did not view the cross the same way we do. They did not wear them around their necks or in their ears as earrings. Can you imagine if someone today had a solid gold electric chair and put diamonds in it? It was not simply a form of execution; it was the lowest form of execution, reserved for the lowest class of people for those who had no standing or rights. That Jesus, God incarnate, should die on a cross was indeed a scandal, as Paul says in Galatians 5:11.

You can see how it came as no surprise that the message of God incarnate dying on a cross for the forgiveness of sins was a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles (I Corinthians 1:23). In this we begin to understand the depths of humility to which Jesus sunk in order to be obedient to the will of the Father.

It is on the cross that the true nature of God is revealed. God is love and mercy, and he is also righteous and just. Sin cannot dwell unpunished in God’s presence, but God created us to be in intimate relationship with Him for His glory and our good. The cross is God’s solution to the problem of sin in His beloved creation. On the cross, Jesus took the punishment for sin that we deserved, so that we could be shown mercy and forgiveness. On the cross, righteousness and mercy kissed so that we could be reconciled with God and counted as righteous before Him.

We must know there is nothing God will ever ask of us that will cost us as much as going to the cross cost Him. We can never give up as much as He gave up. We can never humble ourselves as much as He humbled Himself. We must, however, be willing to do whatever He asks, whenever He asks, wherever He asks. This type of obedience is true servanthood to Christ as he modeled.