Liturgy of the Passion
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.
Palm Sunday really is the tale of two Sundays. Many (including us) will recognize that Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem. However, for many church going people, they will enter to celebrate Palm Sunday and won’t be back until we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. But that leaves a big hole in the story. This passage helps us fill in that hole. It is thought that Paul is quoting an early hymn of the church. This hymn tells the story of Jesus. I have referenced this passage several times during the weeks leading up to now. This passage really shows us the God-Man – Jesus. Paul tells us that we need to have the same attitude that Jesus had. He says that this is truly the way the church should operate. The church must operate from the framework of the attitude of Christ.
Jesus was fully God and yet, he humbled himself – he didn’t lift himself up. Jesus could have stayed with his Father, but he didn’t. He humbled himself to come to earth. Jesus became God with us. He put on flesh and bone – he knows what it means to be limited by the human body.
Not only did he come and put on flesh and bone, but he was obedient to the Father’s will. He took on the lowest position of the low – a slave. Imagine the Son of God taking the position of a slave. It would be a humbling experience for any of us, yet Christ did it willingly. He came, born as a human being…living a life on earth…to the very point of death. He died a criminal’s death on the cross for our salvation. Imagine being killed for someone else’s wrongs. Imagine being killed for someone else’s wrongs and that someone else are the very creation that you created. This is what Jesus did for us on the cross.
Why? To bring us salvation. We are given a glimpse of what God would do for the Son in the second part of this hymn. As a result of Jesus’ death on a cross, God would lift Jesus up…you could say raise Jesus up. It’s the same thing that will happen for those of us who believe – who acknowledge that Jesus died for our sins and receive him into our hearts as Lord and Savior. But that’s getting ahead of the story…