Do you love a good song? Check out Philippians 2:1-11
The Apostle Paul seems to have quoted from an early Christian song (vv.6-11) to make his point, using Christ as an example of what believers should do. That song shares the full nature of the incarnation. The complete picture of Jesus becoming man is clearly displayed in his preexistent life, his humble obedience in human flesh and his glory as King.
Let’s start by looking at the first part of this song in verse 6.
Jesus is all that is God.
He is in very nature God. His being is always, actively Divine. The Son had a history before coming to earth. He shared in the glory of God because he was of the same substance as God.
In John 1:1-3, He was forever God and in relationship with God.
Colossians 1:17, He isn’t part of creation, but is before creation and supreme over all creation.
Revelations 1:17-18, He is before and after… the Ever-Living One who died and rose again.
The early church defined his oneness with the Father in the Nicene Creed.
With the Shepherds we worship at the manger. With Simeon, we worship at the Temple. With the Magi, we worship at the childhood home. With John, we worship at his baptism. With Thomas, we worship at the resurrection.
And if this song rings true and this is who Jesus is, then worshiping the One who came is the only right response.
Jesus’ heart let go of glory.
In this passage, Jesus is the one who gives up his place. He decided not to cling to his place of equality. He had already possessed equality with the Father and decided not to cling to it.
We needed him to do this. Humanity had failed at the Old Covenant Jesus came to fulfill that Covenant and to offer a New Covenant in his blood.
His love made him let go. He was rich and become poor, so that through his poverty we might become rich. That is the heart of love.
We often like to imagine Jesus as a very human-human. Even most of our movies about Jesus start with his birth. This song reminds us that long before the first Christmas, Jesus existed in glory.
And his heart was so pure that he let go of glory for all of humanity.
If we don’t accept the truth of his divinity, we will end up distorting the meaning of his humanity.
If he’s not divine, he’s a good man who lived a good life. Or, he’s someone who taught us how to live well. His only power is influence and our ultimate salvation depends on us.
But, because He is divine, we can hear the music and it sounds like love. We can sing of the God of glory who let it go for us. We can retell the story of God stepping out of eternity, into time and space that we might be freed from the curse of sin and death.