For The Kingdom: Joy-Filled Living In Difficult Days | Day 26
“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 2:5-7
Let’s reflect more deeply on how Paul describes the transformative surrender of Christ; having been in “the form of God…” in heaven,to “being found in human form” on earth. Philippians 2:5-11 represents one of the great “Christological passages” of Scripture, which help us to understand the character and nature of Christ. To go deeper into a Christological study, look also to John 1, Colossians 1 and Hebrews 1 and 2.
During Christmas we celebrate this reality of heaven coming to earth, God becoming flesh. The word “form” in this passage means- “the essential nature.” So Jesus, in His eternal, “essential nature” is God. Jesus, emptied Himself and took on the essential nature of humanity, being born in the likeness of men, as a lowly baby born to a humble virgin girl. Theologians call this the incarnation. The incarnation is a beautiful term that literally means “in the flesh.” Jesus, being God all-powerful took on human flesh.
Do you remember Joan Osborne? For a brief moment in the mid-90’s, this controversial folk singer, with a nose ring asked a provocative question… “What if God was one of us?”
If God had a name what would it be? And would you call it to His face?
If you were faced with Him in all His glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?
What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus, Trying to make His way home.
When the song was released, many Christian people were offended by the line, “Just a slob like one of us.” But in a very real sense, Jesus became just like us… a nobody. The King of the universe became a poor, insignificant carpenter. He had callous’ on his hands and dirt in His toe nails. He probably even got food stuck in His beard from time to time. He lived among us. He became one of us. For 30 years He was virtually anonymous until He began His ministry. Although He was 100% God, He also was 100% human.
Everything about this riches to rags story is non-sensical and even offensive to our consumeristic, American dream sensibilities. Yet, we cannot escape the sticky words, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” What Jesus did, surrender power, relinquish wealth, and forfeit His preferences to become a servant to those who would esteem Him not is startling. To understand that this is the path that He calls His disciples to follow is so unsettling and alarming that we immediately begin running 99 justifications through our minds of how this cannot apply to us. Jesus is our Servant King, embrace and adopt His ways and you will come to know Him as He really is.