We looked a few weeks ago at how Paul describes the work of the Messiah to the Philippian Christians with a type of poem. He encourages them (and us) to possess the mind or attitude of the Messiah as we interact with one another and with non-Christians. To have the mind of our Master requires a major overhaul of our thinking pattern(s), and it is far from a comfortable endeavor to engage oneself in. Are we willing to make that transformation on our own hearts and lives?
Paul kindly exhorts,
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:1-8).
Now consider the rest of this amazing passage of Sacred Scripture:
“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, and every tongue confess that Jesus, Messiah, is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
Why did Paul begin with a “therefore”? He is saying that this exalted position and exalted name is because of what is set forth in the previous lines of the passage. The incarnation and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth is the perfect manifestation of the true and living God. Only God could have done what Jesus did upon this Earth. Therefore, He is to be honored in a way that is far beyond any other...
For the Jew, the “name” Yahweh would have been the highest name one could imagine, and yet Paul says that Jesus' name is the highest one. The words of Paul here remind us of something we read in the Old Covenant Writings: “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance” (Isaiah 45:23b). Paul makes it clear that Jesus does not negate monotheism in the slightest, nor is He somehow an extra component to be fitted onto the already established idea of Deity. Jesus was and is the ultimate expression of who God is...and He is completely Divine Himself. But Jesus gave up His “rights” and died for His own rebellious creatures (compare Philippians 2:1-4). Our culture is often obsessed with rights and entitlements, and yet the Master of Heaven and Earth teaches us to be truly great...by serving others. If we want to be like God/our Creator (godly), then we need to look at Jesus and pattern our mindset and lifestyle accordingly. Oh, and if we will empty ourselves and humble ourselves, then God will exalt us in the proper/coming time. This is a poem about the greatness of the Messiah, and about the future for those who possess His mind.
For His infinite worth,