July 5, 2011

Prisoner For Christ XI: The Crux of the Cross of Christ


The Example of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11; Pages 89-102)

It is only by serendipity that this post lands on the Roman numeral "X" that just happens to be a cross...or perhaps it is providence? No series of posts on the Prison Epistles or Philippians is complete without mentioning the mind of Christ put on display in the Kenosis of Philippians 2:5-11. Paul clearly views the Gospel as being about salvation. Paul has a nearly single-minded focus when it comes to Jesus Christ and Him crucified and the eternal life that stems from this fact. We even see Him state as much in 1 Corinthians 2:2 when he says, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Why crucified? Because crucifixion is the “crux” of the Gospel and the Gospel is the crux of Scripture as a whole. Scripture itself gives meaning to existence for a Christian. All sinful roads converge at the Cross of Christ and salvation goes out from it or diverges from the Cross.

So what is at the heart of the crucifixion that made Paul fixate on it so often and so intently. What is at the heart of this historical pivot point for mankind is what Jesus did for mankind. The nature of Christ’s mind and the intent of God and His purposes lie at this crossroad…or should I say the Cross. Jesus left it all there. Jesus takes on the attribute of man in the better interest of others. Jesus makes himself of no accord. Jesus divests himself of His privileges (not His divinity!) to allow Himself to mocked, scourged and afflicted in the form of a degrading crucifixion. Why? Because He loves humanity with an agape love or a love of self-giving that expects nothing in return. A person needs only believe that Jesus died according to Scripture, was buried and rose again on the third day according to Scripture to attain eternal life. Man got a bargain in this deal…and Jesus got the brunt of a whip and an impaling by nails. In this act of condescension God took on the punishment due men so that they would not have to and in return He asks only that we believe the work He did. Unfortunately, most often He received only mockery or denial. Not only in His time but ours also. It is a truly sad window into the heart of wickedly sinful humanity.

Jesus having humbled Himself in this manner and having stayed perfectly obedient to the will of the Father is exalted. His name is lifted up and the Father, “exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” AMEN! Why the name above all names? Paul is echoing the idea from the Old Testament here that refers to God and his character, both positional and in terms of authority. To honor God is to honor His name (character) above all other names. Thereby every knee shall bow…since every knee will be under Him. Praise His Holy Holy Holy name.

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