Gaze at the God-Man (Philippians 2:8-9)
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, —Philippians 2:8-9
Most of us have wanted to make a name for ourselves at one time or another. We want to be liked. We like to be noticed. We notice when others get glory and we don’t. We often secretly want to make a name for ourselves even though we say things to the contrary. Our post-Fall anti-humility problem is pervasive, and there is only one remedy. His name is Jesus.
In last week’s post, Tim Cain reminded us to keep our eyes on Jesus so that we might gain a mind and a life like His. That’s good counsel. After all, there is no greater humility to be found than the Lord of the universe found in human form. When the Son of God put on the humility of humanity, the Creator stooped to the creaturely. The Supernatural took on the natural so he could feel our weaknesses and walk through the world’s temptations, and yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
Only God himself could complete this perfect obedience. But Spirit could not shed the blood necessary to forgive our sins (Hebrews 9:22). So the Son of God became God-man to meet the need. His obedience went all the way to death. This was not some random death. No, God chose the most painful and, more than that, shameful form of execution. It was a criminal’s stake. That’s why verse 18 says it was even death on a cross. Yes, Jesus stooped that low, and even lower, as he bore all our sins and suffered the wrath we deserved.
Because of Jesus’ perfect humble obedience (obedience that Adam and no man since could complete) God the Father highly exalted him. This is not just a step or two higher than the next exalted guy. To get the meaning across some scholars use the term “super-exalted.” In other words, there is no higher position in all of heaven and earth. Jesus was restored to his rightful place at the right hand of God, but this time including his glorified humanity. Jesus, the God-man, went low, low, low to be exalted high, high, high above all.
Why did God the Father choose to send his own Son on such an excruciating exploit? One reason is because he received glory through the redemption (buying back) of his people. Another is because our greatest joy is in being the ones he bought back. When we surrender to Jesus as our Redeemer we enter into his humility. We enter into his death, resurrection, and ascension. We die to sin and receive new life. And one day we will be joined with him in his exaltation. What better name could we possibly hope for than to be called a child of God? What higher position could we possibly hope for than to join Jesus at in his super-exalted state? There, and only there, will our joy and pleasure be full and forevermore (Psalm 16:11). “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6).
Gaze at the humility of the God-man, Jesus. How does the humility of Jesus differ from self-pity?
Gaze at the exaltation of the God-man, Jesus. In what ways does his going so low to be raised so high move you to deeper humility and joy in him?
When are you most tempted to “make a name” for yourself? How will you redirect your thinking when you stray into self-exaltation?
How can you make progress and use your God-given gifts in your daily work without seeking your own glory? How does your future exalted status with Jesus make a difference now?