Exactly who is Jesus. I mean, if we are challenging you to commit every aspect of your life, shouldn’t you know exactly who this man was (and is)? Verses 4-11 begin by saying we should have the same attitude of Jesus, that of humility. God wants us to look like Jesus, so shouldn’t we know what He looks like? In this passage, Paul quotes an ancient hymn that was sung by the early Christian church which was a song about the core beliefs they held as they worshiped Jesus. The song tells us of four core realities we need to know and believe about Jesus:
1. Jesus is God. He always has been, always will be, forever, eternally will be God. He created the universe, and is the eternal King of all. When you commit your life to Christ, you are serving the one and only God. When the text here tells us that we are to have the same attitude as Jesus, that does not mean that we too are God. The heart of our sinfulness is that we exalt ourselves to the place of being the center of the universe, living with self as the core realtity of life. Yet Jesus is God, and he emptied himself. But Jesus is the one true God, there are not others. Because He is God, our response is to worship Him.
2. Jesus became a man. I have to be honest with you, this doesn’t make sense, for God to become a man. But that is exactly what Jesus did. He never stopped being God, but he became a man. He lived on earth for 33 years, and experienced every possible temptation, trial, and problem men could go through. Think about it, He cried as a baby, contrary to the Christmas song. Jesus probably had zits when He was a teenager. He probably had kids in his school that teased Him. As an adult he was tempted with opportunities for power, women, fame, fortune, glory. He was tempted with drugs (see Matthew 27:33-34), and with everything else you and I are tempted. But, Jesus went through all of this without failing God once. He never sinned. He did all this to demonstrate the heart of God to me and to you. Because He became a man, you and I can relate to Him, and He can relate to us.
3. Jesus died on the cross. Why did Jesus die? For you and me to have any chance of going to heaven, and being with God forever, someone had to take the punishment for sin. Imagine if you were convicted for a serious crime, and the penalty was execution. But the judge took off his robe and in love said, “the penalty has to be paid, but I choose to take your place.” This is exactly what Jesus did. We are guilty and the punishment was death and separation from God. But Jesus stepped down from his eternal throne, became a man, and died to pay the penalty for our sin. Because He died on the cross, our response should be confession of sin and love for Him.
4. Jesus is exalted forever. Each person who lives on this earth will at one point in time kneel before Jesus and acknowledge that He is LORD! Those who do it on this side of eternity will spend it with Him. Those who wait will spend eternity apart from Him. But every person will, at some point in time kneel at the feet of the eternal King and acknowledge that He is in control. Our response to Jesus being exalted is to receive Him as Lord of life.