(Warren E. Berkley)
5 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. 8 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, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Phil. 2:5-11
The opening verses of chapter two call upon Christians to make attitude a priority, as described in these descriptive phrases: “…the same love, being in full accord and of one mind,” etc. (See 2:1-4).
These descriptions of healthy attitude can be called unselfish humility, and there is no better example of that than Jesus Himself. So Paul says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” In the NIV: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.” That’s the high standard Christians must aim for. Unselfish, courageous, Christ-like humility.
Jesus never did anything through selfish ambition or conceit. He was meek and lowly, illustrating in the highest way, the attitude that should govern all who follow Him. (He was unlike the scribes who were driven by selfish ambition; see Mark 12:38-40).
He existed in the form or very being as God before, during and after His incarnation and has that nature/status now in heaven. But, He “did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.” Jesus did not have to steal or seize Deity from God; it was His by nature.
And yet He “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men.” He humbled Himself, emptied Himself. He didn’t stop being divine when He came to earth – that isn’t the point. He didn’t claim that deity as an exemption. This all speaks to His humility. He became a bondservant to save us and take us to heaven.
“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
It was more than just visiting the human race. His unselfish humility brought Him here, to suffer and die, “even the death of the cross.” He lived on the earth, emptied Himself of His heavenly existence – obeying God and serving us; not just dying, but the death “on a cross.”
The Father honored this supreme act of humility: “Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name.” There is no greater. Jesus Christ is not one among many religious leaders or teachers. He is Deity who came here and died for us and was then exalted by God.
What should the response of human beings be to this? Submission. Submission now that is fully realized eventually when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, “to the glory of God the Father.”
One question comes out of this. Am I living in humble submission to Him, who humbly submitted Himself to death for me?