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What, exactly, did he do?

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, being essentially in the form of God, (a) did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but (b) emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he (c) humbled himself by becoming obedient as far as death, even death on a cross. Therefore (d) 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: 5-11
 
Back in AD 62 a man named Paul was in prison in Rome because of his faithfulness to Jesus who, in AD 30, had been crucified in Jerusalem and rose from the dead. Paul was a contemporary of Jesus and, from prison, wrote a letter to Christians in the Roman colony of Philippi. See bold above. Paul was very aware of certain things to which I have recently drawn your attention. 

In “What, exactly, is an idol?” we saw that all humans live for something, that all humans focus on a purpose which will make them happy, that which will bring security to themselves and their loved ones.

In “What, exactly, is pride?” we saw that all humans also consider themselves, collectively and individually, to be above others. We are all proud. We all have self-esteem. If we lose it we’re ion the depths of despair. We must have something to keep us proud.

 
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‘To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God.’ (C S Lewis, novelist and academic, 1898-1963)
In “Where, exactly, are we all?” we saw that all humans are outside the Garden of Eden – all are subject to irreversible death – none is able, solely by effort or guile, to return to that place of wonderful human fellowship with the LORD God. Why not? Our exclusion arises, according to the ancient book of Genesis in the Bible, because our earliest ancestors resolved to become Gods, to become equal with God, to be above God. 

In, “What, exactly, is the Easter message?” we saw that, way back in BC 710 the LORD God instructed Isaiah, a prophet in Jerusalem to make it abundantly clear to the people that he, the LORD God, wanted all humans to know his greatness in creation, in in justice, in wisdom, in authority, in autonomy, in knowledge and in understanding. But above all he wanted all humans to know his greatness in his lovingkindness to all human beings.  

Paul knew all this. He wrote about it in this letter to the Philippians. He describes in very few words what God actually did.

By contrast with us and our ancestors, Christ Jesus … being essentially in the form of God, (a) did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but (b) emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Yes, he was (and is) the complete reverse of Adam and Eve. He was God but (a) didn’t grasp that. He decided to become man – and, even more, to become man for evermore. He decided (b) to empty himself (no idols there) by taking the form of a servant. Do you like being a servant? It’s far easier to go up than willingly to go down.

By contrast with us and our ancestors, being found in human form, he (c) humbled himself by becoming obedient as far as death, even death on a cross. What has been your experience of human beings in the humility race? Are they all attempting to rise above you? Do any choose to be below you? To lose face? To lose their good reputation? To be criminalized? To be executed as the vilest form of criminal? For others?

The outcome of what he did is as stated by Paul. Therefore (d) 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.

 
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‘God’s favourite word is – Come!’ (Robert L Sterner)
But I have a question for you. Paul states above that God … bestowed on him the name that is above every name. What, exactly, is that name? Is it Lord? That name now given to him is above every name. At that name (1) every knee in heaven should bow, (2) every knee on earth should bow, and (3) every knee under the earth should bow. In fact (4) every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Why Lord? Because of what he did. Because of (a), (b) and (c). Because he took my place in death I shall not die. That’s why every knee should bow.

 
Sinner Syvret

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