14 September 2007

Philippians 2:5-11

"And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on the 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 earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father". (v.8-11)


This passage is thought to be an early Christian hymn, which explores the mystery of the incarnation - God taking human form in Jesus Christ. Paul quotes the poem in a letter to the newly formed Christian congregation at Philippi. This letter was probably written before any of the four Gospels, with the story of Jesus' life and death, had been written down.

The revelation of the mind of Christ is presented here as the story of a great change. It begins with one who was in the form of God, that is, one who possessed inwardly and displayed outwardly the very nature of God himself.

There is great stress on the fact that this change came about by voluntary decision and in this we begin to enter into the 'mind of Christ'.

It was by his own decision, freely chosen, that Jesus divested himself of all kingly power and authority and chose for himself the road of obedience which would lead to death through crucifixion.

The cry of dereliction by Christ as he hung on the cross (see Mark 15:33) shows how truly and completely he entered into the place of rejection and with what horror he was enfolded in so doing; he who was in the form of God came down to earth, down to the cross, down to the curse of the cross.

To Ponder

If one, such as Christ, could so completely give of himself in selfless, loving obedience for you, how much more should you give of yourself this day to Christ?

Christ humbled himself so utterly to open a new way, a new beginning for people, in humility what new way, new beginning can you open for someone today?

Bible notes author

Revd Eden Fletcher

The Revd Eden Fletcher is the Superintendent Minister for the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (Brunswick Central) Circuit, having previously served as Chaplain to Kent College, Canterbury, a Methodist school and minister at Westminster Central Hall, London. Eden is committed to city centre ministry believing that the Church has a key role in promoting strong community in the heart of city and promoting Christian values in a commercial/retail context.