The Glory and Humility of Christ – Part 1 (Philippians 2:5-7)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. —Philippians 2:5-7
Over the next four weeks and culminating in Holy Week, we will be memorizing Philippians 2:5-13. The context of this passage looks back to Philippians 2:1-4. Paul makes an appeal to the Philippian believers,
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. (2:1-2)
Paul shepherds these precious believers on how to complete his joy—by exhorting them to unity followed by the admonition,
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. (2:3-4)
In context then, we can move to Philippians 2:5-7 with better understanding of God’s call to us. We will learn how low is the humility of Christ and how complete is the obedience of His servanthood.
In these verses we are given the reality of Christ, His humility and obedience—a vivid, living picture of what the mind of Christ in the believer will reflect. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” If you belong to Christ, you already have His mind. Jesus is our forerunner and has shown us how His mind will create expressions of humility in the life of those who belong to Him. Do you think it is impossible to be a genuinely humble servant of God? Look into God’s Word, to your Savior. Fix your eyes on Him. He will teach you His desires, attitudes, thought patterns, and ways of humility:
“who though He was in the form of God” —form, not like a shape, but in the expression of His diety, character, and nature exactly like God in every way
“did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself” —instead of treasuring His privileges, or having an attitude of clinging tightly to all His rights and honors, Christ set them aside for a time, yet always retaining His diety
“by taking the form of a servant” —the character and nature of a lowly bondslave
“being born in the likeness of men” —Christ, born of flesh, the God-Man, fully God and fully man
The contrast of Christ’s pre-incarnate glory and His incarnate humility can be seen throughout Scripture. Today, let us hear His call to humility.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:3-5)
In John 13:12-17, Jesus explains to His disciples,
“Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
This week, study Philippians 2:1-13 to give context to our Fighter Verse passage.
Make a list of other passages that express Christ’s humanity (Galatians 4:4) and His diety (Colossians 1:13-23).
Reflect on a situation of disunity. How would the humble nature of Christ in you and others make the situation different?