Gospel Project Commentary: Resurrection Sunday!

I cannot think of a biblical text that better expresses the wondrous, cosmic u-turn that happens in Jesus’ humiliating descent to the cross then glorious resurrection to the throne room of God than Philippians 2:5-11.  This will be the passage our groups study together this week in Sunday School.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 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.”  Philippians 2:5-11 ESV

Watch as Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, masterfully takes us on a journey with Christ.  If we believe all of God’s word, then we know that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God…through whom all things that are made were made.”  In other words, Jesus is creator God. Yet here in Philippians, we see radical, willing humility as Jesus steps down from His place as God most high and “does not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.”  Not only that, He lowered himself to be one of us.  Creator entered into creation. He left the masters chamber, and entered the servants quarters.  In divine love, His humility doesn’t stop there.

Jesus lowers himself in servant like obedience, and that obedience led Him to the cross.  This path of humility included nakedness, mocking, beatings, excruciating pain and anguish, and ultimately it included the full weight of God’s wrath being poured out on God the Son.  We know how the story unfolds, Jesus’ broken, lifeless body is placed in a tomb.  His disciples mourn His loss and lose hope.  Then three days later, Jesus rises from the grave, victorious over sin and death.  We truly can not appreciate the resurrection of Christ without first remembering the depths to which he fell.

Questions 27 and 28 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism read as follows:

Q. 27. Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?
A. Christ’s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition,made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross; in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time.

Q. 28. Wherein consisteth Christ’s exaltation?
A. Christ’s exaltation consisteth in his rising again from the dead on the third day, in ascending up into heaven, in sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and in coming to judge the world at the last day.

As we consider resurrection Sunday, we dare not forget the lowly Jesus.  Living as a human and bearing the shame of sin on the cross.  We also dare not forget the exalted Jesus!  Through the cross, God saved His people and raised up Jesus as King of all.  At just the mention of His name, every knee should bow in reverence, every tongue should confess Him Lord of all.  Let’s adore our king together this Sunday as we marvel at His humility, and wonder at His great power!

This adoration should go forward from Sunday in a really practical way!  Awe inspiring truth about God never leaves us as it found us.  In fact, Paul’s theology  in this passage is laid out in the midst of very practical instruction.  As we consider how we ought to relate to others, we should be brought to our knees as we consider the humility with which Christ walked on this earth.  Embracing Christ is embracing His way of being exalted.  He did not exalt Himself, but rather served humbly and allowed the Father to exalt Him at the proper time. Will we follow in His footsteps and humbly submit to God’s timing and instruction, or will we seek to exalt ourselves?

This weeks Gospel Project lesson states, “No one was ever lower than Christ at the cross, and no one will be more ultimately exalted than Christ for all time.” The question now is, will you embrace the crucified Savior now in humility and trust Him to exalt you at the proper time, or will you seek to exalt yourself now, and be humbled by the sovereign King who is risen?

“Sing, my tongue, how glorious battle, glorious victory became; and above the cross, his trophy, tell the triumph and the fame: tell how he, the earth’s Redeemer, by his death for man o’er came.” – Fortunatus

 

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