Every one of us knows at least one person who will do about anything possible for you. I have met many such people at Northstar. They are willing to change their plans and help you at the drop of a hat. I admire those people and wish to be like them.
But then I read Philippians 2:6 which says, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.” I have read that verse many times, yet it still blows my mind. My reality, my perspective, my understanding, my awareness, my wisdom, and my discernment concerning God is too insufficient to process what the Son of God did for me. It never fails to remind me of Isaiah 55:8-9:“ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Yes, there are people that will go out of their way to help me, but Jesus was God, yet He came down to earth as a servant, humbling himself as a human. Now add verses 7 and 8 in Philippians 2 “…rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! ”
How do you get your arms around that one phrase, “He made himself nothing?”
He was born in a trough for feeding animals. He was born in the likeness of men. The first day of His earthly life, He had enemies. He submitted Himself to parents, themselves by nature sinners against Him. Since He voluntarily submitted to His own Law, He obeyed His parents, “for this is right.” He was trained in a common laborer’s trade.
He had one purpose on His mind, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) And these “many” were His enemies, haters of God and an insult to His righteousness and holiness.
He was baptized by a sinful man, John. He endured temptation and near starvation in the desert. He made Himself available to any needy individual and spent three years helping others, morning, noon, and night, when fresh, when tired, even washing people’s feet like a slave and having no place to lay His head, all the while setting His face like a flint toward the Cross.
And then there is Judas. Even though Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him, he still washed his feet. Can you imagine? I have a hard time being nice to someone who cuts me off in traffic, let alone someone who set me up to be killed.
The bottom line is this. We all should be blown away when we think about the sacrifice that Jesus paid for all of us on the cross and the ultimate servant He was on earth. It makes me want to be more like Him. My prayer for Northstar is that we will be motivated to be more sacrificial and servant-like. That God would cultivate a heart in us that everyone we meet would characterize as a servant’s heart. Not just so that we can be seen as a servant, but so that people can see the awesome sacrifice of making Himself nothing to save unworthy sinners from their sin.
1. How do you react to the phrase, “He made Himself nothing?”
2. Why did Christ take on the limitations of being human even though He was of the same nature as God? (2:7)
3. How is Christ the best example of humility and unselfishness for us? (2:6-8)
4. How does Christ’s example of humility challenge our natural self-centeredness?
5. Pray and ask God for the heart of a servant. What actions could you take this week to have the heart of a servant?