March 2, 2017 – Thursday
Read: Philippians 2:5 – 11, NIV
Focus: v. 8, NIV
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
This passage is obviously talking about our relationship with one another. Though the major point is found right at the beginning of the passage and then expressed through the remainder of it, we are going focus in on a somewhat narrower aspect of what the mindset of Jesus was considered to be by the Apostle Paul as urged upon him by the Holy Spirit. Verse five tells us, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:. . .” So, this is the basis for all our relationships with our fellow believers. He had an all-pervasive spiritual view of His followers and of His role in regard to them and His Father. All of these verses will help as you discover how you, as a believer, are to act toward your brothers and sisters in Christ. The translators have put this passage in poetic format to set it apart from the more conversational style used by Paul in the rest of this letter. There seem to be two parts to this poem with the first being in verses 6 to 8 and the second in verses 9 to 11. Our focus verse is at the end of the first part of the poem. The first part is about Christ and His work here on earth while the second is about God the Father’s perception of Jesus in relation to the future.
While Paul contrasts the two natures of Christ in verses 6 and 7, he makes the essence of what Christ accomplished the point of verse 8. The two natures of Christ are His God-nature and His Man-nature. Theologians speak of Jesus as being very God and very man, a sort of duality, if you will. The purpose behind that duality is found in verse 8. Christ died as a man would die on a cross and to do this He had to humble Himself since God cannot die. He did this in his Man-nature thus suffering death on a cross. The point is that he was humble and obedient even to the point of dying as a man on a cruel instrument of death – a Roman cross! Thus was His purpose for coming to earth fulfilled. He was born as a tiny, helpless baby. He lived as a man before other men subject to everything they were subject to. He died as any man would die if impaled on a cross. But there was a purpose for that death, a purpose that was never understood by those who put Him there. He was the only perfect man who could make the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all mankind – past, present and future – and He did this of His own free will.