Exploring Philippians | Servanthood | Philippians 2.5-8 | Movementministriesblog.com      

by | May 18, 2022

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!” Philippians 2.5-8

The ”Hymn of Christ” as some have referred to verses 6-11, depicts the humility of Christ and gives us an example of how we might live as Christ-followers. According to one source ”….the hymn of Christ speaks of kenosis (emptying), not apotheosis (becoming a god when we die); the hymn declares humiliation/death rather than earthly glorification/divination,” (https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/philippians-christ-hymn-lynn-cohick-new-commentary).

Jesus set for us the supreme example of humility, imitation and servanthood. He who was God, v.6, “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” (RSV). Or as the NIV says, ”to be used to his own advantage,” or The Message, ”had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what.” It’s apparent that Jesus was God, but he humbled himself to make himself lower, so as to be exalted by God.

Jesus made himself a nothing, v. 7, “take the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” The Asbury Bible Commentary suggests, ”’Of what did Christ empty or divest himself?’ We must not consider it as an emptying of something essential to his nature. Rather, he “poured out himself, putting himself totally at the disposal of people” (Hawthorne, 86). Jesus put himself under God’s authority by making himself below everyone else as well.

Servanthood is defined as self-denial, humility, obedience. Jesus models servanthood for us as he became obedient to death, ”even death on a cross,” v. 8. His sacrifice paves the way for all to see God and teaches us what it means to become like him.

So much of our work today is inward focused. The political and societal issues we take up often hurt more than they heal. The church is a light in this world but even within the church walls, as I’ve mentioned many times, we see brokenness. But Jesus’ power and purpose did not ascend into heaven with him. The Holy Spirit of God lives and reigns among us today. God’s power is greater than our weakness. His desire for all to be saved continues.

Why not imitate Jesus today? Why not share him with the world in need of love and redemption? His example is not only a witness to us all but can lead us on the path to righteousness and a Heavenly reward.

“O Lord God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for allowing me to be your hands and feet. For enabling me to receiving your power, helping me say yes to your grace by your love. Come now, Holy Spirit, empower your people to reflect your image Lord God. Help us be like Jesus, to walk as he walked, and live as he lived. So they world may know. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen