Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gleanings in Philippians ~ Humanity of Christ: Phil 2.7-8 (Part II)

Yesterday, we began to lay out five ways Jesus manifests humility in His humanity and draw out ways for us to emulate that.

Today, I want to consider a fifth and final aspect of Christ’s humility in bearing humanity.

V. Jesus in His humanity lived as a servant.
Fifth, Jesus in His humanity lived as a servant. Think of Jesus in Matthew 14:13-21. His cousin, the one person in the world who understood Him, who He was, and what His mission was – John the Baptist – has just been beheaded. When His disciples came and told Jesus this, He was in the midst of five thousand hungry people. Yet, Jesus fed them all. If ever there was a time when Jesus could have said, ‘You know, I just need this time to myself right now,’ it was then, but He forgot himself, and He fed five thousand hungry people.

Or, do you remember in the upper room? The disciples on the way to the upper room had been arguing about…“Which one of us is the greatest.” And while they were still arguing. The greatest of them stripped down to His waist and started washing their feet, and He even washes Judas’ feet too. In the beginning of John 13, Jesus has already said that He knows who is going to betray Him. He’s already told the disciples that He knows who is going to betray Him, but He washes Judas’ feet. Calvin says of that passage that Jesus is once more opening the gate of repentance to Judas, but Judas will not heed his offer. It’s His humility opening the gate of repentance to His betrayer.

Or do you remember the way He encouraged the disciples that night? You know what He says to them in John 14:1, after the Lord’s table, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” In fact, the Gospels tell us that that night in the Garden of Gethsemane His heart was troubled, even as John tells us that when He came into the city of Jerusalem that week that His heart was deeply troubled; and yet He’s there in the upper room saying, ‘My dear disciples, I’m so concerned that you not be discouraged, because tomorrow’s going to be really hard for you….’ But He’s taken on this humble humanity and He’s taken on the form of a servant, His focus is always on His disciples, even when it could have rightly been on himself.

Or think of Him while He’s in the house of the high priest, being tried by a kangaroo court. His feckless disciple, Peter, is out in the courtyard denying Him three times – which he had emphatically told Him he would not do. And the third time that Peter denies Him, Luke tells us that at that very instance Jesus’ and Peter’s eyes met B.B. Warfield says about that moment:
“There He stood in the judgment hall of Annas, offering himself a victim for the saving of the whole world, and yet He had the time to turn a significant glance upon Peter as he stood denying Him before the courtyard fire, and thus saved His poor repentant follower in the saving of the world.”

Warfield is saying the difference between Peter and Judas was Jesus’ pastoral care in that one look. If ever a man had a right to be saying, ‘You know, I’ve got my own problems to deal with right now. I can’t think about my disciples,’ it was Jesus. But He’s thinking about the everlasting welfare of the eternal soul of His weak and unfaithful disciple Peter.

Or think of Him on the cross, he prayed for His murderers: “Father, forgive them.” Or speaking to that thief in Matthew 27 and Luke 23, when you look there, you’ll find out that both the thieves on the cross at the beginning of the day were mocking Jesus, but at the end of the day, one was not, but said to Him, ‘Please, Lord, remember me when You enter into Your kingdom.’ The Lord Jesus Christ, while bearing the sins of the world, turns to that man who had been mocking Him at the beginning of the day, and He says, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” And then a few moments later He will cry His cry of final anguish and death, but before that He’s looking down at His mother and His dearest friend, John, and He asks John to take care of His mother.

This serving, this servanthood, is not some blip on the screen. This is who Jesus is! And Paul’s saying to you, Christian, “Have this mind in you, which was in Christ Jesus.”

If you’re not trusting in Jesus Christ, trying to be like Christ is not the way for you to be saved. That is the way to be eternally frustrated. Instead, you come to Jesus, like you are, with nothing in your hand: no claims, no excuses, nothing to offer, and you say, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” And He will receive you.

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