Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This is the last supper

Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

This passage is an important one in understanding who Christ is and how he works. It makes no bones about the fact that Jesus is "the form of God" (the argument is probably about what that means).

Christians came to understand that in this person, Jesus Christ, God is uniquely revealed.
To put it simply if we want to know what God is like then we have a human picture. Jesus is what John Robinson and others called "The Human Face of God".

Paul tells us in this passage from Philippians 2 a number of important things about how this equality with God works.

First, although equal with God, Jesus chose to empty himself of his "Godliness".

Thus we see the Christ who heals, teaches and who is in touch with God is one who is operating out of his humanity.

A perfect humanity at that.

This suggests to us that there is within us the capacity to be as Christ. We do not have to become God, because Jesus is acting out of his humanity having emptied himself of his Godliness.

Second, although being equal with God puts Jesus in a position of power. He chooses not to act out of that power. Rather he empties himself and opens himself to humiliation, slavery and ultimately death.

Although we are often tempted to use our power to get what we want done. This does not appear to be the way of Jesus, he emptied himself.

Is there here an invitation in following Christ to deliberately and radically set aside our power?
Are there situations, relationships and issues that we are presently confronting where we should "empty ourselves" of all but love?

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