Description / Transcription
We will continue on in Philippians, chapter 2, looking at verses 9 through 11. Hear the Word of the Lord.
“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.”
Let’s pray together. Our God, we ask that You would open our eyes that we might see glorious things in Your Word today. Help us to see Jesus, not just in His humiliation, but in all of His glory. We pray this in His name. Amen.
We move in our passage this afternoon from humiliation to exaltation, but really in one sense we do, indeed, see exaltation here. We’ll talk about that in a moment, but first of all we actually see vindication as well. Look with me at verse 9. We read this word “therefore,” “Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name.”
When we see that word “therefore,” we’re told to look back at what the writer has just said and what do we see? We see a reference earlier in this passage to the deity of Christ in verse 6: In the form of God, He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. He is also therefore a faithful servant, even unto death on the cross.
So why does it lead then to God raising Him? Why did God highly exalt Him? Well, I think it’s tied to these very two things. First of all, to His deity. As the perfect God-man, death could not hold Him. And so God raised Him from the dead.
But God also raised Him from the dead because of His obedience. Jesus says in His earthly ministry, “I have come not to do My own will, but the will of the Father who has sent Me.” He was faithful in that work. And so God exalts Him.
Turn back, if you’ve got your Bibles with you, to John chapter 13. We’re going to look at a couple different passages this afternoon. John chapter 13. I’ve actually preached on this passage last night at our own Maundy Thursday service. It’s the passage beginning in verse 31, where Jesus says, “A new commandment, a new mandatum I give unto you,” hence the term “Maundy Thursday.”
But look at verses 31 and 32: “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him at once.”
Notice how that verse actually begins in verse 31, “When he had gone out.” If you look back previously, who was it that went out? It was Judas. Judas went out and Judas basically began putting into motion the plan that would lead to the arrest and the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But notice “now is the Son of Man glorified.” In one sense, the crucifixion of Christ was itself a glorification. Because as I said last night, it shows both the holiness of God and the demand of justice of God, but also the grace of God, that Christ died for sinners.
But notice as a result of His death, both the Son of Man are glorified and God is glorified, and God is going to glorify Him and as Jesus goes on to say, glorify Him at once, or glorify Him soon.
They are both glorified, but Jesus is exalted because of His faithfulness unto death on the cross. God glorifies Him. He raises Him up. In other words, this is a vindication. The Father was pleased. As God the Father spoke earlier in the life of Jesus, this is My beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.
Jesus’ death, in other words, was purposeful. It was not an accident. He came to fulfill and to carry out the will of God. And God raised Him up. It was a vindication.
It was a New Testament scholar over a hundred years ago by the name of Albert Schweitzer who wrote a book, The Quest for the Historical Jesus, and he referred to Jesus as a tragic figure, as a failed messiah, and he writes this, he wrote this: “Christ lays hold of the wheel of the world to set it moving on that last revolution, which is to bring all ordinary history to a close. It refuses to turn, and he throws himself on it. Then it does turn and it crushes him.” That’s the view of Albert Schweitzer.
It’s the view of many in our world today, Christ kind of a tragic figure. He tried to do good things, but in the end He was killed, a tragic figure.
But no, that’s not the picture that we have in the Bible. Jesus fulfilled the task that God had given Him to do. I believe it was Martin Luther who once said God was never more pleased with His Son than when He was most angry with Him.
Jesus fulfilled the command of the Father, and God vindicates Him by exalting Him.
We also see here His exaltation. It includes that He is exalted as the text tells us. God has exalted Him. He goes on to say that God has given him the name that is above every name, and at that name every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue, verse 11, confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Now with that passage in mind, and those words in mind, turn with me to one more passage. Go back with me to the Old Testament, to Isaiah chapter 45, or just listen, as I read. Isaiah chapter 45 presents for us an important background to this passage. We’ll pick up in verse 22, Isaiah 45, verse 22. God says this:
“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn; from My mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’”
“Only in the Lord, it shall be said of Me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against Him. In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory.”
Notice the background here. God says, “To Me every knee will bow and every tongue shall swear allegiance.” And who is this who is speaking? We see in verse 24 and 25, in the Lord, and in your Bibles those are all caps, which means what? This is a reference to Yahweh, the Old Testament name for God.
And what we read here in these final verses of this wonderful passage in Philippians chapter 2 is that Jesus is called Lord. He is God. He is one with Yahweh. And every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This means that Christ is absolutely sovereign, absolutely sovereign. He is the ruler of the universe. Jesus says at the very end of Matthew’s Gospel, Matthew chapter 28, where He gives the Great Commission, He begins with these words, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” I am the ruler, I am the authority of heaven and earth.
The writer to the Hebrews says in Hebrews chapter 2, actually the first part, quoting verse Psalm 8, “You made Him for a little while lower than the angels, You have crowned Him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under His feet.”
And then he goes on to add this, “Now in putting everything in subjection to Him, He left nothing outside of His control.” Everything in this world is in subjection to Jesus Christ. Under His lordship, under His authority. I Hebrews chapter 2 the writer goes on to say we do not yet see everything in submission to Him, and as we look around at the world around us, even in our own country here in the United States, we might be tempted to say, “Boy, is that an understatement.”
We do not yet see everything in subjection to Him. We look at the mess around us. We look at all of the death and the pain and the riots and the agony and all the rest of the last year, and it’s painful to see.
And I believe we are living in a time that is the biggest anti-God and anti-Christianity movement in the United States in my lifetime. That’s what we’re facing right now.
Yet Abraham Kuyper is absolutely correct when he once famously said, “There is not one square inch of this entire world about which Christ does not say, ‘This is mine.'” It’s mine. It’s His. He is sovereign. And He rules over it.
So our passage here in Philippians chapter 2 actually ends as it began, with Christ in an exalted state, being identified as God Himself. He defeated once for all all opposition, it hasn’t been totally vanquished but Christ has defeated it.
Now as I close, let me ask the question what practically does that mean for us?
Well, it means first of all we can have hope in the midst of darkness, hope in the midst of our trials, hope in the midst of our suffering, hope in the midst of the darkness that we see all around us and seeming to be closing in on us.
But is also practically is a call to humble ourselves. If you go back to how this passage begins in verse 5, the Apostle Paul says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” And he goes on to talk about Christ’s humility. We are called to humble ourselves to have the mind of Christ.
Scripture tells us elsewhere, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.” That’s exactly what happened with Christ and that’s exactly what happens with us. Humble yourselves, and He will lift you up.
If you are a follower of Christ, today I would say pray for Christ-like humility. Pray for Christ-like service. Pray for your life to be a Christ-like sacrifice, a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
If you’re here this morning or you’re watching or listening and you are not a Christian, now is the time to bow in worship. Now is the time to kneel before the Lord, to confess the Lord Jesus as Savior of the world. One day you will face Christ, one day you will bow the knee. The key question is will it be in joy, as you go to live and be with Christ forever and ever, or will it be in shame on the way to eternal death and Hell itself.
Jesus came into the world to save sinners, like you and like me.