by Pastor Heggen
“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 made himself nothing, 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. 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.” – Phil. 2:5-11 (ESV)
From the beginning of the 20th century, St. Paul’s words in Phil. 2:5-11 have been seen as a quotation from an early Christian hymn. The downward, then upward sweep of these poetic words set before us the humiliation and exaltation of Jesus. In a few short lines this ancient hymn tells the story of Christ who, existing in the form of God, emptied Himself and took on Himself the role of man. As man He accepted the mission of a servant, obedient to the point of death. Then, in another set of short lines, God is spoken of as exalting Christ and giving Him the name which ultimately all the universe will acknowledge.
Paul quotes this “Christ hymn” with an ethical intent. Some Christians at Philippi showed little regard for one another. Their self-centeredness proved destructive of the life of the Christian community. Partisanship was tearing apart the unity of the Christian community. The solution to the dilemma (for them and for us) is to let the mind of Christ dwell in us.
Today we wave our palm leaves – ancient symbols of victory and celebration, and we speak and sing of the victory that is ours through Christ. In the spirit of this ancient Christ-hymn we celebrate because the eternal Christ humbled Himself…for us individually and corporately…He became “obedient to the point of death”…for us, and God has exalted Him so we…individually and together can proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
A challenge: Learn, yes, memorize all of Phil. 2:5-11. It’s not that overwhelming! Look at Phil. 2:5-11 alongside the Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed