JESUS CHRIST, HUMBLED AND GLORIFIED
Mr. J. Kemp
October 8th, 1967
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man. He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2 c, vs. 5-11).
So it is found in our text that Christ was in the form of God. He was God Himself, the very Being of God, possessed of all the fullness of God. What the Father was, the Son was. He was the brightness of the Father’s glory. As the natural sun in the universe is the source of all heat and all life and vegetation, so God Himself is the life of all things that live. We must not forget this point also. “Our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12, 29). Were it not for the rays of our natural sun coming to us through the atmosphere, we should be destroyed with the heat of it. As that sun, then, is of such a nature that it would consume everything here upon the earth and is prevented from doing so by the atmosphere through which the rays come to us and we can bear the heat of it, so it is here with the Son of God. He was the express image of His Father’s Person, but He was pleased to stoop down, come down from His everlasting Throne, lay aside the robes of majesty and dignity and glory, and He was pleased to make Himself of no reputation, in so doing, taking a lower place, and, further, to become a Servant. As I said this morning, the word “servant” means, originally, a slave, one who is serving a master. So Christ became (I would say it most reverently) the Bondslave of His Father, the Servant of His Father. He was bound by the everlasting covenant. He was bound by the promises made concerning salvation; He was bound in His love to His people to do what He did, and, yet, with all that was binding upon Him, He was the willing Servant, the willing Slave, like the one in the Old Testament. When the year of jubilee came he could go free, but “I do not want to go free” he said, “I love my Master (Ex. 21, 5);
I love his service.” He continued, therefore, to be the willing servant or slave of his master. So Christ voluntarily, willingly, lovingly, faithfully, continued in His work of redemption to be the willing Servant or Slave in that particular sense.
But, then, He came, not only thus far, “took upon Him the form of a servant, or a Slave,” but “was made in the likeness of men.” What a wonderful thought! There is a most mysterious passage in Hebrews 2, vs. 7-9. God created man a little lower than the angels. He set him over the works of His hands. He put all things under his control, but, in his fall by sin, he lost his headship over creation. Have we not known the result of it? He has never regained it, never yet regained that universal control over the beasts of the earth, the birds of the air, the fishes of the sea and so on, and the Apostle says “We see not yet all things put under him.” It implies that there will be a time yet to come when all these things will be put under him, and he be restored to his first condition as head under Christ Himself, head over creation. But that time has not yet come. The time has not come yet when “the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb . . . and the lion shall eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 11, 6-7), when there shall be no animals devouring one another, when there shall be no enmity against man, even “a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11,6), we read. The Apostle writing to the Romans says “The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”(Romans 8, 22-23). So there is, quite evidently, whatever our views may be about it, there is a time coming when man shall be raised again as the head. I am not suggesting the lord of all, that will be Christ, but the head over creation. When that time will come and how it will come is a great mystery. But, what I wanted to set before you is this, Christ came into that very state and condition. He that was Lord of all as the eternal Son of God, Lord over angels, over all things in heaven and earth. He condescended to be made a little lower than the angels. He took the same place in which man is by the fall, came right into the very spot, so to speak, where they are …”We see not yet all things put under him” (that is man) “but we see Jesus made a little lower than the angels crowned with glory and honour.” Oh the amazing mystery of it! The unfathomable wisdom of God in regard to this particular point that Christ, the Son of God, should condescend to take upon Him, not the nature of angelsÂ—that would have been a mighty stoopÂ—but the nature of man. He was made like unto His brethren. He took upon Him human nature, mortality. The angels were not subject to death, they are immortal, but Christ humbled Himself so low that He became subject to death. Thus His humiliation, His condescension is the marvel and the mystery of the precious things in regard to redemption. But, having done so. He was made in the likeness of men. He appeared like them. You could not distinguish Him by any particular outward, visible signs
as being different from men. He lived amongst men. He kept company with them. He was in every particular a Man among men, yet so different, so distinctÂ—a holy, sinless Man. A Man in Whom no spot of sin had ever stained His conscience or His character.
Now here we have the second point about “reputation”. In the first case He humbled Himself or abased Himself to take a lower place. He further comes down to be made by death of no reputation. First He made Himself of no reputation, but now it is men that do it. He submits to this. He voluntarily allows Himself to have a bad character given to Him. He is called, a Friend of publicans and sinners, a winebibber. He is called a blasphemer; all kinds of evil things were flung at Him though He did not deserve them. They had no effect upon His righteous nature and character, yet, still, He was of no reputation among men. He was a Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief. There was nothing in Him to attract men, naturally so. So He came down so low to such a condition as to be found in fashion as a man. And, in that coming down, He had a purpose to fulfil. “Being found in fashion as a Man he humbled Himself.” One might have thought the humiliation had gone sufficiently far for such a mighty Being to come down so low, but, no, the salvation of sinners required something lower still. He must come into the very depth of all that was due to His people’s sins. Consequently, He humbled himself. He became obedient unto death. His obedience to the Father’s will, the law of God, was perfect through all His lifeÂ—not a single flaw in itÂ—but it must be even unto death itself, because the wages of sin is death, and that was due to all the human race, due to His people, and therefore He must be obedient unto death itself.
But there is another thought here, though it is not the primary thought. You see, death could have no claim upon Him as a sinless Man. He could not die in the ordinary way as sinners die, but sin was imputed to Him. Sin was put upon Him. “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all” (Isaiah 53, 6) and those sins imputed to Him made Him to be under the claim of death. Death, so to speak, claimed His death, because sin was found upon Him, though not in Him. He was made sin in that way that it was necessary that death should lay hold upon Him, should claim Him as its victim, and yet through all that He laid down His life voluntarily. He was not forced to die by death itself. Oh! there is a sacred mystery in this as well. In fact, all things relating to salvation are mysteries. We cannot fathom them, but He became obedient unto death, even to destroy death itself, take away its string, remove its curse, so that all His dear people who die in Him find death is their friend, not their enemy. Death is only just the porter to let them into glory. Precious condescension!
Oh! the self-humiliation of the dear Redeemer; not only obedient unto death, but even the death of the cross. If He had died in the home of Joseph and Mary at Nazareth, it would have been a wonderful thing to die there; if He had died in the home
of His friends at Bethany, that would have been a marvellous thing, but that was not enough. No earthly comfort, no downy pillows must accompany His death. “Even the death of the cross,” the most cruel, the most shameful of every death we can conceive, exposed to shame and spitting, and scorn and hatred and cursing by the multitude, yet He became obedient to that. He willingly obeyed. It was the Father’s will it should be so, and the Lord, having “laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (for that was the cause of His death) He Himself was pleased to bruise Him. “He hath put Him to grief.” Here, my friends, is the great condescending of the Son of God. Here is that mind, that humility, that self-imposed humility of the precious Lord Jesus, the Lord and Saviour.
What does it mean to you and me, my friends, tonight? Is there not enough in this to abase our pride, our self conceit, our self exaltation? Is there not enough here to cause us to be ashamed of ourselves every day of our life because we are so proud, so stubborn, so self-willed? If you are brought to meditate upon this self-imposed humility of a precious Lord, if you come into the Garden of Gethsemane, if you view Him there in His humiliation, sweating, as it were, great drops of blood, in an agony, being full of sorrow, even unto death, and just get a little blessed touch and taste of what it was He suffered, and that it was done for you there, that will kill your pride, for the time being. That will subdue it.
“The Garden is the place,
Where pride cannot intrude,
For should I dare to enter there,
‘Twould soon be drowned in blood.”
Have you known, have I known this humiliation of our poor, proud hearts and natures as we have come into contact with the sufferings of Christ in Gethsemane? I think I have just known a little of it. Oh the mercy to be enabled to know and understand this mind of Christ, and that we in a little measure, just for a few minutes, are made partakers of the same mind, the same humility, in union, in sympathy, with Him in His sufferings.
There is another place where pride will be brought down and that is the cross of Calvary. To come and view the suffering Saviour, to hear Him Who was the Brightness of His Father’s glory, the express image of His Person, crying out in His soul, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me!” Surely pride cannot live there. Surely it must be subdued. Surely it is true, as one says,
“Here, I’d sit for ever viewing,
Mercy’s streams in streams of blood.
Precious drops my soul bedewing
Plead and claim my peace with God.”
To find your soul enraptured, ravished with the love of Christ that passeth knowledge, hanging on the cross in shame and sorrow.
Well, it will bring your proud heart down to the dust, humble you before Him. My friends, there is nothing more needful for our native pride than contact with Christ, contact with Him in suffering and sorrow.
I was thinking this afternoon of that wonderful invitation we have in Matthew 11, 28: “Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” We often hear that quoted, do we not? What about the other part of it? (v. 29). “Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” “Take My yoke upon you.” You know what the figure means, when in the East the oxen ploughed the ground, they were yoked together, they, having one yoke between them, fitted for both their shoulders, they thus drew together, they worked together, they were yoked together. Paul speaks of some of his fellow ministers as yokefellows, united together in bearing the yoke. But what does Christ say? “Take My yoke upon you. Do not take any yoke. Do not be satisfied with any counterfeit yoke. “Take My yoke upon you.” May I say most reverently, to take Christ’s yoke is to be so united to Him in serving, in suffering, in following after Him in taking up the cross, that there is a wonderful fellowship between the poor sinner and the dear Redeemer. Well, He says, “Take that yoke upon you; bearing My cross after Me.” To put it in another way, “Be with Me in My sorrows, in My service of God the Father, in your service as well, in the things of God, to be yoked even unto Me, joined with Me.” Not that you can bear the heaviest weight of the yoke. He alone can do that, but “Learn of Me,” He says. That is just the very thought we have in our text. “Learn of Me.” What are we to learn? “I am meek and lowly in heart.” “Learn that lesson by bearing My yoke in fellowship with Me.” Precious truth is that. There is rest here for the soul in bearing the yoke with Christ, in union with Him, having a oneness of heart with Him, united in love and sympathy. He bearing your sorrows, your trials, your temptations, and you bearing in a measure a fellowship with Him in His serving, in His suffering.
So, friends, we have every reason for our exhortation tonight, Â“Let this mind be in you.” Be humbled. Come down into the low place, not lifted up with pride and self-sufficiency, not esteeming yourselves better than other people are. Oh! it is a wonderful thing to be delivered from the curse of pride for five minutes in our life. It will come back again; the devil makes sure of that. He knows your proud heart and mine and our proud nature; he will stir it up again, but oh to find in some sweet measure we are brought into that place where pride is laid low in the dust, where we are humbled before God and find it true concerning us:Â—
“We never think we’re laid too low,
If Jesus on us pity show.”
If we had more of that in God’s church there would not be the contention there is. Here it is, friends, we need to be brought,
whoever we are or whatever we are or what place we hold, we all need to be humbled, laid low, finding our fellowship is with Christ in His humbling Himself, “becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
I should like just to say a few words tonight in regard to the exaltation of Christ, because this is important. For, as Christ humbled Himself in the way He did, this was acceptable in the sight of His Father, and it was the Father’s gracious pleasure to show His approbation and to give Him the reward of His humiliation. “God also hath highly exalted Him.” Christ Himself experienced what He had said of Himself, as I noticed before, “He that humbleth Himself shall be exalted.” God is set before us in this particular work as the One Who exalted Him, that is. He raised Him from the dead. He received Him up into heaven. He set Him on high, far above all principality and power, all things in heaven and earth; He was made Lord of all. He was exalted once again to the highest station. Head over all creation, all providence, all grace, highly exalted. And in this exaltation notice, friends, it is the humanity of Christ particularly set before us. In that very nature that He took upon Himself, in the very condition in which He humbled Himself, that human nature has been exalted by God the Father, set on the Throne of Glory, at the right hand of the Father. Here, friends, we have the precious promise of the saints’ exaltation. As He is Head over all things to the church, they themselves shall presently be exalted. They again shall regain their lost position over creation; they shall reign with Christ on the Throne, for did He not say, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.” (Rev. 3, 21). They are exalted to the throne of glory, united so inseparably, irrevocably to the dear Son of God that they are made One with Him in His exaltation as well as one with Him in His humiliation. What a precious truth this is! Well might John say “We know not what we shall be.” We cannot conceive what it means, cannot understand what it is to reign with Christ in heaven as the saints will reign, to reign over all creation, all things here below. When and how it will take place we cannot fully know, and we do not want to speculate. The Word of God declares it to be true and it will be true. “Though we see not yet all things put under him, we see Christ Jesus, the God Man exalted, and all things put under Him. What does this mean? It means just this that, as man was made lower than the angels, as Christ Himself was made lower than they, to come into man’s need, now Christ is exalted above them, and so is man. It will be so. Though man be lower than the angels in nature and in regard to mortality here below, they will be immortal presently, they will be like unto the angels and yet above them, because they will be next to the Throne. Redeemed sinners are nearer the Throne of God than the angels are. Can you understand that? Can you fathom it? To think that you and me, if God permit, if we are found amongst His people, shall be nearer to the Throne of God in heaven than the angels are. But
this must be the case, because redeemed humanity is in closer relationship to God, Who has redeemed and loved them, than angels can ever be.
“Never could angels taste above,
Redeeming grace and dying love.”
They cannot render the same praise as redeemed humanity can. They can only speak concerning what they looked into, or tried to look into, they can only join in the anthem of praise to Him that sits upon the Throne, but man can speak of Him “that loved us and redeemed us by His Own precious blood.” So, my friends, Christ’s exaltation means the exaltation of His people. He, the glorious Head has gone before; they shall come at last to be with Him, they shall share with Him in His glory, in His Kingship, in His Headship. As they have suffered with Him, as the Apostle says, “They shall also reign with Him.” Wonderful, glorious, unspeakable thing is this to my mind; it is far beyond my poor comprehension how this can be, yet the Word of God tells me it is so, and I must believe it; I do believe it.
Well, he is exalted then by the Father in this way far above all principality and power and He has been given a Name which is above every name. Some commentators profess to believe this means the Name of Jehovah, because amongst the Jews it was a Name they would never mention, a name they never spoke with their mouth nor wrote with their hands. There was always a partial reference to that Name and so it shews how they dare not use that sacred and holy Name in common conversation. Be that as it may, I do not think that is the meaning here. The context shews that. “A Name above every name that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow”Â—that Name the angel gave to Him when He appeared to the virgin before He was born. That name that was spoken by the angel to Joseph when he was afraid to take Mary to be his wife. “They shall call His Name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins,” and ever since that wonderful Name was given to Him, what a mighty Name it has been! In that Name throughout the centuries men have trusted, and on it they have rested, not merely in the Name alone, but the Man that bears the Name, the Nature that is set before us in that Name; Christ Jesus is the Saviour, “No other Name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved.” Oh I do not wonder John Newton said:Â—
“How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds,
In a believer’s ear,
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds
And drives away his fear.
It makes the wounded spirit whole
And calms the troubled breast;
‘Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary rest.
Dear Name! the rock on which I build;
My shield and hiding-place;
My never-failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace.”
Happy soul that can join with John Newton feelingly in that hymn, friends. May we know the power of it, the sweetness of it, and may we realise in our hearts from time to time this Name above every name is written, engraved with an immortal pen upon our hearts, and that it will be the Name that is sweet now and sweet to all eternity. No other Name given under heaven among men, no other Name in heaven but thatÂ—the Name of Jesus will resound with the praises of the glorified throughout the centuries of eternity, never fail to be heard, the exalted Son of God, the exalted Man, Christ Jesus, glorified, worshipped, adored from moment to moment throughout every age that will succeed in that boundless eternity.
But this Name is given to Him to be worshipped and adored, but there is also something else here. “That at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow.” That means subjection to His authority, because, you see, it is a universal subjection. “Every knee,” of things in heaven; all the angels in heaven will bow the knee, all the glorified saints will bow the knee, all the highest beings that are found in heaven, the archangels will bow their knee, own Him as having the sovereign right and authority over them. Things in heaven, things in earth; all nations shall bow down before Him presentlyÂ—not a single tongue or tribe under heaven but what shall be brought to bow in reverent submission to His Name as the great Ruler and Governor over them. And everything under the earth, in hell itself. Even the lost spirits know that Name. They did when He was here below. They acknowledged Him to be the Holy One of God. It is a very solemn thought that men now oppose Him, fight against Him, have no desire after Him, His Name is nothing to them, but the lost in hell will have to bow in submission to the righteous judgment of God in His wrath upon them to all eternity, and thus bow the knee of submission to Him that bears this Name. He will be known in heaven, known in earth, known in hell as the sovereign Lord of All, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
But, just a moment. There are those, through Divine mercy here below who are brought to bow their knee, not merely because they are obliged to do itÂ—brought to have to acknowledge Him unwillinglyÂ—but bow the knee in sweet submission to His gracious rule. His Divine government of them and theirs. How blessed that will be! Brought while here below to bow our knees to Jesus, the precious Name that is above every Name. Every tongue shall confess He is Lord. Every tongue of angels, redeemed men, redeemed sinners on the earth, every tongue of all that ever opposed and fought against Him shall acknowledge Him to be Lord. There will be a time, friends, when not a single dog will dare to move his tongue (Ex. 11, 7) against the Lord Jesus Christ
Himself, that blessed Name which is above every name, and this will be “to the glory of God the Father.”
As Christ thought it not robbery to be equal with God, and God was not robbed of His glory by His being regarded as equal, so all that Christ is, all that Christ has done, all that Jesus has done for His people, and all the praise and honour due to His precious Name will not deduct one iota from the glory of God the Father, but rather enhance it, because He and His Father are One, and what is praise to Him is praise to God the Father. It is to the glory of God the Father throughout a boundless eternity.
I have tried very briefly to notice the exaltation following the humiliation, the voluntary subjugation of Christ, and we have seen that it is the precious contrast which is, I hope, to our joy and our blessedness, to see Jesus exalted, Jesus enthroned, Jesus Lord of All and joining in crowning, in praising the Name of Him that sits upon the Throne and to adore the Lamb.
May we be found at last seated with Him on His Throne, united to Him, glorified with Him, for His Name’s sake. Amen.