Liturgy of the Passion (April 9, 2017)
- First reading
- Second reading
Philippians 2:5-11 | New Living Translation (NLT)
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
For Pam’s take on this passage, click here
It seems that I have been around this passage all Lent. I ended up teaching the devotional during the Lenten Luncheon – and expanded on Pam’s thoughts, but I can’t remember it.
This is one of two passages that Paul quotes – the one here in Philippians and another in Colossians that are ancient church hymns. The message in this passage is that, if we want to know what it means to be like Christ, we should do as Jesus did.
Paul says that we should have the same attitude that Christ did. Jesus laid down every right that he had as the second person of the Trinity. Even though He was God, he didn’t think that it was something that was important. What was important was humbling himself to the very point of being a slave – this is the lowest person on earth. Jesus humbled himself – submitted himself – we have trouble doing this. Jesus was obedient to the Father all the way to death – death on the cross which is the most torturous way that humankind has come up with to execute capital punishment. Jesus was stripped – literally – of ANY dignity he had. We often think of Jesus hanging on the cross with a loincloth, but in reality, criminals were hung on the cross completely naked – in death they were stripped of any dignity – being spit on, cursed at, scourged, mocked – you think of it and it happened during a crucifixion. Add to that, it was a slow, agonizing suffocation. That is what killed them – not the scourging – not the beatings, but suffocation – can you think of any worse way to die? I suppose we as humankind are capable of it. But even if we did, Jesus would endure that to save us.
Because of that, God exalted Jesus to the highest place. Notice the way it works – we do the humbling – God does the exalting. We do the submitting. That’s the whole point of the passage. Paul told the Philippians to make his joy complete by submitting to one another – treating each other as Christ would have treated us. I think that is a great way to start off Holy Week.