Christ Sets the Example in Service

MEMORY SELECTION: “Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” —Philippians 2:8

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Philippians 2:1-11

IT IS true that Jesus, by magnitude of his voluntary self-sacrificing life, established himself as the greatest servant of all time. Jesus, according to the Scriptures, enjoyed a prehuman existence on the spiritual level and was privileged to have close and intimate association with God.

The Scriptures clearly indicate that the Word (Logos, Greek) was the first creation of God (Rev. 3:14; Col. 1:15-18; Rev. 1:17; I John 4:9) and that God used the Logos in all his creative activity. (John 1:3; Col. 1:16) In all of this activity there was a love and closeness between God and his glorious creation, the Logos, that transcends our power to fully comprehend or appreciate. In Proverbs 8:22-36 there is a remarkable account of the relationship that existed between the Logos and his Creator, which will help us to some extent.

In verse 22 we read, “The Lord possessed (Strong’s 7069—created) Me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” Then follows an account of the close association that existed between the Father and Son during the eons of creation. In verse 30 there is a personal expression by the Logos that gives us some appreciation of the confidence and love that existed between the Father and Son during this long period. “Then I was by him, as one brought up with him [margin, a master workman]: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.”

With this short background we can, in part, appreciate to what extent the Logos humbled himself when he consented to become a man in order to suffer and to die the horrible death of the cross in order to redeem Adam and his progeny, even us.

In Philippians 2:6 we read, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” A better translation, the Revised Version, reads, “Who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.” This text tells us that even though he was a great and glorious and powerful spiritual being—appearing like God himself—yet he at no time felt that he was equal to God, nor did he ever meditate a usurpation to be like God.

We believe this text is used here by the Apostle Paul to emphasize the humility of the Logos in contrast to Satan, who also was a great spiritual being. In Isaiah 14:12-14 we read: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! … For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: … I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

No, the Logos did not meditate a usurpation to be like 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.”—Phil. 2:7,8

This glorious being, the Logos, because of his love for the Heavenly Father and his consuming desire that all things work to his honor and glory, was willing to become a man, born of a woman, to take Adam’s place in death in order that he might redeem the condemned human race, which, when finally restored to perfection through the kingdom, will be a crowning glory to the Heavenly Father.

The service of our Lord was not confined to his death on the cross, but it encompassed the whole of the three and one-half years of his ministry. During this time he fulfilled his mission to preach the Gospel. (Isa. 61:1,2) This was done under difficult and trying circumstances. It was done with the strong opposition of the Jewish leaders. He was mocked, ridiculed, threatened with death, and blasphemed. Because he was faithful in all of this, our text states, verse 9, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”

Those who during this Gospel Age are endeavoring to follow in the footsteps of Jesus are expected to suffer as he suffered, and he, of course, is our example in character development.—I Pet. 2:20,23

Dawn Bible Students Association
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