The case could be made that Jesus wore a servant’s towel from eternity because as the “Lamb slain before the foundation of the world” he was destined to bring redemption to this earth and to us.
Last week we looked at Christ’s humility:
“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to."
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges, he took the humble position of a slave[c]
and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
His humility in heaven: “Though He was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.”
His humility in the Incarnation: “He took on the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.”
His humility in death: “He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”
"Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 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 2:9-11
All of Christ’s humility was his own doing. No one humbled Him. Herod did not humble Him. Pilate did not humble Him. The Romans did not humble Him. The High Priest did not humble Him. Jesus humbled Himself. (“He emptied Himself. . .”)
That is our focus today. This message is a look at Christ in all of His well deserved glory. This is a chance for us to worship Him because we realize, maybe some for the first time that He is really worthy.
Think of the gears of a catapult being ratcheted down even tighter with the three movements of His self-humiliation, so that the final click of the gears creates an explosive tension. When the gear is tripped there is an incredible launching of Christ’s position and exultation by the Father. Christ’s self humiliation was followed by an incredible transformation and exaltation!
One could say that this transformation was a look at Jesus's life from the cradle to the cross and then the crown.
What was about to happen was in keeping with the teaching of Jesus. Matthew records Him as saying: “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)
We don’t know for sure when Jesus received this exaltation or this return to the glory he had before with the Father. It could have been the moment he stepped from the grave after conquering death, hell and the grave. It could have been on the road to Emmaus when two disciples didn’t recognize His appearance but after the fact pondered the fact that their hearts were set aflame by His presence. Maybe it was in Bethany when he ascended back to heaven in front of His disciples for the last time to take His place at the right hand of the Father in heaven where He is making intercession for those who follow Him. The disciple heard then, that in the same manner He was taken up, He would return someday.
Paul now pulls no punches in the language he chooses to describe our Lord and his exaltation. In fact he uses a word that is used no where else in the Bible. “Therefore God super exalted Him.”
Let’s try to take in this thought today. May this capture our heart, mind, and soul as we grasp at understanding the value, worth, and glory of or Lord.
1. What’s in a name?
“Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names. . .”
As you may be aware Christ has a lot of names. He has been called, Emmanuel, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, The Almighty, Ancient of Days, the Door, The Chief Shepherd, The Good Shepherd, The Great Shepherd, The Word, The Light, The Lamb, The Bread of Life, The Rock, The Bridegroom and the Alpha and Omega.
You may wonder with all of those names what could be so great about the name above all names. The clue to this name lies in the phrase, “name above all names.”
The name that Christ received from the Father was Lord. This of course means that He is Lord of everything. It was the Hebrew name for God which was Yahweh!
Do you know Christ by name today? Do you understand the ramifications in our life if what I am saying today is really true?
If Jesus is really Lord of everything what does that mean for you and I?
2. Every knee means every knee!
“. . .that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. . .”
It is an amazing thing to ponder. Can you imagine that there is coming a day when everyone you know or know about, in fact, everyone on this planet will bow their knee to Jesus Christ?
Every knee means every knee:
Everyone in this room and those that will never be in this room.
Everyone who has ever gone to church and those that have never gone to church. Everyone in America and everyone from every other country in the world.
Everyone that has an education and everyone who has no education.
The rich, the poor, the famous and the infamous.
Let me ask you something? When do you think you might get around to bowing on your knees to God?
There are people who struggle with a religion that includes a bloody cross. Maybe they are embarrassed by it or can’t logically explain how a person dying on a cross could make any difference in our lives.
"Even a superficial study of church history reveals that the Spirit of God blows with hurricane force only through those prophets and lovers who have surrendered to the folly of the cross. If there is little power and shallow wisdom in our preaching, teaching, worship, and ministry, I believe it is because the Crucified Christ has been ignored in favor of a lot of ’burning theological issues,’ most of which are neither burning nor theological." Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus.
Religion is hanging around the cross, Christianity is hanging on the cross. — Stephen Hill
Brother Lawrence was a French monk who lived from 1611 to 1691. You might think that a man who was born nearly 400 years ago would have very little to say to today’s working people, but he had some great insights into our theme of ministry in daily life. Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God, p. 81) wrote: "It is not necessary to have great things to do. I turn my little omelette in the pan for the love of God; when it is finished, if I have nothing to do, I prostrate myself on the ground and adore my God, who gave me the grace to make it, after which I arise, more content than a king. When I cannot do anything else, it is enough for me to have lifted a straw from the earth for the love of God. People seek for methods of learning to love God. They hope to arrive at it by I know not how many different practices; they take much trouble to remain in the presence of God in a quantity of ways. Is it not much shorter and more direct to do everything for the love of God, to make use of all the labors of one’s state in life to show Him that love, and to maintain His presence within us by this communion of our hearts with His? There is no finesse about it; one has only to do it generously and simply."
Have you ever bowed your knee to God?
3. What do you have to say?
“. . .and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Remember this phrase all the days of your life and in the hour of your death: Jesus Christ is Lord.
What do you have to say about that? What does your tongue confess? What comes out of your mouth?
There are some folks who will give great lip service to Christ but never match it with their lives. The Bible has something to say about people like that. In I Peter 2 we find these words:
“These are wells without water, clouds[b] carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” I Peter 2:17
You ought to go check out the context of that scripture. Read the whole of I Peter 2 and you will be holding a mirror up to your life. You will be testing the words of your mouth and what you bow the knee to.
(For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord
12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.)
Ralph Waldo Emerson hit the nail on the head when he said: THE GODS we worship write their names on our faces, be sure of that. And a man will worship something —have no doubt about that, either. He may think that his tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of his heart—but it will out. That which dominates will determine his life and character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.
June 7, 1958 the Air National Guard’s jet precision team was performing outside of Dayton, Ohio. Five precision flyers made up the Minute Men team. Colonel Walt Williams was the leader of the Denver-based F-86 Sabre-jet team. The planes made a low pass over the crowd and then went straight up into four directions with colorful smoke leaving a trail that formed a large “flower burst” maneuver.
Colonel Williams turned his Sabre jet hard and dropped the nose of his F-86 to pick up speed for a low-altitude crossover maneuver. Then, glancing back over his shoulder, he froze in terror. Far across the sky to the east, Captain John Ferrier’s plan was rolling out of control. He was in trouble. His plane was heading for the small town of Fairborn, Ohio located close to the air show.
Steering his jet in the direction of the crippled plane Colonel Williams radioed his command, “bail out, bail out now Johnny?”
Each time, Williams was answered only by a blip of smoke. John Ferrier couldn’t reach the mike button on the throttle because both hands were tugging on a control stick locked in full-throw right. But the smoke button was on the stick, so he was answering the only way he could – squeezing it to tell Walt that he thought he could keep his plane under enough control to avoid crashing into the houses of Fairborn.
Suddenly an explosion shook the earth. Captain John T Ferrier’s Sabre jet had hit the ground midway between four houses, a backyard garden. It was the only place he cold have crashed without killing people.
Major Win Coomer, a close friend and Minute Man Team member landed his jet and rushed to the crash scene. A neighbor was standing near the crash site said: “A bunch of us were standing together, watching the show, when the pilot started to roll, he was headed straight for us. For a second, we looked right at each other. Then he pulled up right over us and put it in there.” And in deep humility the man whispered, “this man died for us.”
When we look at the cross of Calvary we have to say, “Jesus died for me.”
Jesus said he came to seek and to save the lost. “Even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
When we look at the Cross we sing out praise to God for His love.
“Alas and did my Savior bleed? And did my Sov’reign die? Would He devote that sacred head fro sinners such as I!
“See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down; Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown.”
“Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul my all.”
What do you have to say for yourself and your life today?
How long has it been since you thought about bowing your knees to our Great Savior?
We bow to all kinds of silly things in this life. Why not put Christ first and reprioritize your life based on His life?