Saturday, July 26, 2008

Christ our Example

Christ our Example

By Abraham Israel

Philippians 2:5-11 we can see how Christ humbled Himself to the cross and from there how God exalted Him to the throne. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Jesus Christ “(v5). Here “this mind” refers to the state of Jesus’ mind. In Matt 11:29, Jesus Himself spoke about His own state of mind by saying, “….learn from Me, for I am gentle [meek] and lowly in heart”. In fact, we cannot even comprehend with our finite mind, how much He must have humbled Himself to be gentle [meek] and lowly in heart. It is very hard to imagine ‘How the prince of heaven and the darling of heaven who ruled over all the universe could have humbled Himself to become a servant to all mankind’.

The Bible says, [Christ] who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery [or something to be held on to be equal] to be equal with God”. He was exactly the same in essence of God’s Glory [Glory- Majesty, Holiness, power, perfection and Might]. In other words, He had the right to say to the Father God, ‘You go to the earth to die on the cross’, when God the Father sent Him to the planet earth. Instead He voluntarily came forward to give Himself to fulfill the mission of redemption (John 10:17-18; 5:26; 8:14).

Jesus “made Himself of no reputation [emptied Himself of His privileges]” (v7). He chose not to exercise His authority as God and this was the pact that He made with the Father and obeyed His word by “taking the form of a bondservant”. Bond servant has no privileges at all. He will need to do whatever the owner says him to do. He has no right of his own. It is the lowest form of servanthood. He is required to do washing of people’s feet. This servant will not be paid any wages unless the owner who owns him chooses to reward him for his outstanding work.

Inspite of knowing all these things, He chose to take the form of a bondservant, because of His love for us (John 15:9) and [came] …in the likeness of men”. And this likeness is the physical form of man [i.e. physical body with hands, legs, eyes, ears, mouth and senses], not only in appearance but with all the physical limitation of being in the body. Jesus created us in His likeness [i.e. spiritual likeness] and because of His love for us humans, He became to be in the likeness [i.e. Physical likeness with all its limitations] of men. Oh what a love!

Even before the foundation of the world this was planned by the trinity (Heb 4:3), when they had discussed and planned it in the ages past. When the Father God had told Him about the plan of redemption, Jesus volunteered and must have told the Holy Spirit that He must take Him and place Him inside the womb of Mary, so that He can use Him in the ministry by filling Him and then taking him to the cross to be sacrificed for the sin of humanity. The Bible confirms this in Heb 9:14 by saying, “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot [or blemish] to God…” (Heb 9:14).

When this redemptive operation was executed by the trinity, Christ found Himself in appearance as a man as the Bible says, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself…” (v8). This was truly a humbling experience for the God who gives breath to all human beings and sustains it, to end up being one among them. To humble one’s self is to have a low social class or position. To humble one’s self is to stay simple inspite of having power to use or exercise. He still had authority, but He chose not to use it or else the plan of salvation would be aborted. That’s why when one of His disciple struck the ear of the servant of the High priest who came to arrest Him, Jesus said to His disciple “Put your sword in its place….do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels [80,000 angels]? How then could the scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” (Matt 26:51-54).

This clearly shows that Jesus knew this will happen and that He was waiting for each things to take place so that the will of the Father God will be fulfilled, with out even failing in the smallest details. If he would have called the angels he would have broken the perfect will of the Father God and He would have acted independently. This would have been an act of disobedience and the whole plan of salvation would be aborted as a result. This is why Satan also tried to break His perfect obedience to the Father’s will in the wilderness by trying to make Him act independently (Matt 4:1-11).

The Bible says that Jesus “…became obedient to the point of death…” (v8). When Jesus did His miracles, signs and wonders during His 3 ½ years of ministry, many tried to kill Him. He knew that this was a risk that He was taking, but still He continued in the perfect will of God and thus became obedient [i.e. He learned obedience through suffering]. He trained His soul to be always obedient to the will of the Father.

This is the reason Jesus said to His disciples, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death…” (Matthew 26:38). This is the highest point of His obedience because He was going through very High emotional, mental tormentation because He knew that He would be cut off from the trinity for a while as a result of the sin of the whole world and was going to die physically by being brutalized to death. This is the only place Jesus ever prayed, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, your will be done” (Matt 26:42). In other words He was saying, ‘If there is no other way to achieve salvation except by dying like this, then let me do it your way itself’. Even before dying on the cross, He died to His flesh [i.e. His independent will apart from God]. He aligned His will to the will of the Father after He prayed like this. This is the only place He ever struggled to die to His will but submitted His will as a bond servant in the end.

Jesus submitted Himself to “….even the death of the cross” (v8). Then the actual death of the cross happened, where the perfect will of the Father was fulfilled. This was the ultimate point where Jesus was forsaken for a moment and died a vicarious death. This was the lowest point in His life where He did not even have the right to call God as His Father but He called Him as, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).

And the Glory that Jesus had with the Father is the “…form of God.” (Phil 2:6). And in John 17:4, 5 at the hour just before crucifixion He prayed, “…I have finished the work which you have given me to do.” After His crucifixion when He was about to give up His spirit He said,“It is finished.” In other words all that the Father required for the salvation of humanity was achieved through His perfect life of obedience to the Father at that point of time. So He ultimately fulfilled and finished the plan of salvation to fruition. Jesus while praying for Himself prayed in John 17:5, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together [alongside] with yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was.” The day the trinity planned, Jesus worked along with humanity to fulfill salvation mission. So after fulfilling the mission, Jesus prays to the Father to glorify Him alongside the Father, like which He was in the eternity past before the world was. Hallelujah! Now he is seated at the right hand of the Father like before the world was created.


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