Humiliation to Exaltation
“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.”
- Philippians 2:8-11
In verses five through seven of this chapter in Philippians, Paul challenged his readers to have the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ was then shown to be that of humility, submission, and obedience. Jesus modelled all these as he relinquished the glory of being one with the Father as well as all the comfort and joy of the heavenly realm. Here, Paul goes on to describe this humility of Jesus Christ. Not only did he give up this glory and comfort to become a man and dwell among us, but he was so committed to the will of his Father that he was willing to submit himself to death on a cross – the greatest experience of physical agony and shame.
Thankfully, the story of Jesus does not end at the cross. Easter is on the horizon. After Jesus' rejection, pain, and humiliation on the cross came his exaltation. After the resurrection of Jesus came the ascension of Jesus. All that Jesus left behind in the heavenly realms was restored to him. He is now one with the Father again and sits in glory above all things.
His humiliation also brought our exaltation. As the children of God, we have been lifted from death to life, from condemnation to forgiveness. We have eternal life with the triune God as our promise. To see Jesus in all his glory is our great hope and goal. Our knees bow to him here on earth and will bow to him when we get into his eternal kingdom.
What Paul wants his readers to know is that not only will our knees bow to Jesus, but every knee will bow to Jesus. Those who rejected him, those who nailed him to the cross, those who spit in the face of Jesus, those who renounce the work of the cross – ALL knees will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
The thirty-three years that Jesus spent on earth was a time of ultimate humility, submission, and obedience. Many people did not recognize Jesus as the incarnate God, the promised Messiah. However, Jesus is now glorified by his Father. There will come a day when Jesus returns and will be glorified by all people. As his disciples, we are called to follow this example of Jesus. We are now the ones who are called to humble ourselves, to submit to the Father’s will, and to be obedient in all things. This commitment to Jesus may lead to our own humiliation in this world; however, we have the promises of exaltation. We will see the full glory of the Lord, and we will be transformed to that glory. Reflection:
Are you able to see beyond your temporal call to humble yourself to the eternal hope of glory?
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