In my last post we looked at pride as one of the biggest enemies of unity between Christians (You can see that post here). Because of this, Paul continues on this theme, giving us the perfect example of someone who was humble – Jesus.
Philippians 2:5-11 – 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. 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 Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus is God. He is the creator of the universe. He was enthroned in heaven, in perfect relationship with the other 2 members of the trinity from eternity past. He deserves all glory and honour, all praise. He placed the stars into space with his words. He created life by speaking.
And yet, instead of claiming that praise and honour, he willingly became a man. He was born in a stable – his creation didn’t even make room for him at his birth. He took the form of a “servant” – in the original language (as far as I know) this is better translated as a slave. But Jesus didn’t only do that. He humbled himself further – he willingly died one of the most shameful deaths that there was for us. The creator of the universe, the one who sustains us every second of the day, was beaten, mocked, spat on and then hung up on a tree to die.
Why did he do that? So he could save us. We are sinners. We have disobeyed God’s perfect law, and as a result we deserve his punishment (hell). Nothing we can do can save us from that – we’ve already stuffed it up. But Jesus didn’t sin. He was God and he was man at the same time, so he took our sin and he took God’s punishment for that sin on the cross. He died in our place – in the place of those who had rebelled against him, who hated him, who were his enemies, so we could be forgiven and to show forth God’s character – his justice and perfection along with his mercy and grace and love.
But that doesn’t automatically make us saved. No, God calls us to respond to this free gift – to put our trust in Jesus as the only saviour and to repent of our sins.
Jesus humbled himself completely for God’s glory. In the same way we should be willing to give up our wants for the sake of those around us. We will never be able to meet what Jesus did for us (and that’s not the aim) – so we have no excuse to be proud and selfish. We need to be ready to even suffer for fellow Christians in order to help them. Humility hurts. It’s not an easy thing we’ve been called to. But it is glorious, and it is far better than pride because it glorifies our Father in heaven instead of ourselves.
Jesus is the perfect example of humility. Will I follow that example even when it hurts? Will you?