Philippians 2:8

In Philippians 2:8 Paul continues to describe how Jesus demonstrates the way we get to unity in the Body. “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Guzik explains “Jesus humbled Himself when He became obedient. This was something that Jesus could only experience by coming down from the throne of heaven and becoming a man. When God sits enthroned in heaven’s glory, there is no one He obeys. Jesus had to leave heaven’s glory and be found in appearance as a man in order to become obedient.”

And part of the outcome of that obedience was suffering, which He had never truly experienced before, so He came to earth to become human so He would understand what all humans endure. He did it humbly in every way. Guzik lists the ways:

  • He was humble in that he took the form of a man, and not a more glorious creature like an angel.
  • He was humble in that He was born into an obscure, oppressed place.
  • He was humble in that He was born into poverty among a despised people.
  • He was humble in that He was born as a child instead of appearing as a man.
  • He was humble in submitting to the obedience appropriate to a child in a household.
  • He was humble in learning and practicing a trade – and a humble trade of a builder.
  • He was humble in the long wait until He launched out into public ministry.
  • He was humble in the companions and disciples He chose.
  • He was humble in the audience He appealed to and the way He taught.
  • He was humble in the temptations He allowed and endured.
  • He was humble in the weakness, hunger, thirst, and tiredness He endured.
  • He was humble in His total obedience to His Heavenly Father.
  • He was humble in His submission to the Holy Spirit.
  • He was humble in choosing and submitting to the death of the cross.
  • He was humble in the agony of His death.
  • He was humble in the shame, mocking, and public humiliation of His death.
  • He was humble in enduring the spiritual agony of His sacrifice on the cross.”

That’s a pretty long list of humility. And we must never forget that Jesus chose to be obedient and follow God’s plan – He wasn’t forced.

Could Jesus have become human and pay for the sins of the world on the Cross without experiencing all this humiliation? Certainly that would have been possible. Yet He did not avoid humiliation, but took it squarely and provided for our Salvation and began a great work in us. His obedience was complete and extreme as there was no partial obedience. The outcome of His humility ended in death. But it wasn’t just any death. Crucifixion was such a shameful death that it was not permitted for Roman citizens (such as the people of Philippi). A victim of crucifixion was considered by the Jews to be particularly cursed by God.

Robertson called the death of the cross “The bottom rung in the ladder from the Throne of God. Jesus came all the way down to the most despised death of all, a condemned criminal on the accursed cross.” He couldn’t have carried His humility any deeper. All of this was a great display of the power of Jesus. Remember that because of Paul’s past experience among the Philippians, they were tempted to think of God’s power as being expressed only in glory and deliverance and not in terms of obedience to God through humble service and endurance. Paul reminds the Philippians that he too was in a place of humility in a Roman prison, and yet God still could use him through his obedience.

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