April 15, 2022 – Good Friday Afternoon
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” ~Philippians 2:5-8
The irony and mind-boggling nature of Good Friday is found in this passage: The God of everything that has existed and everything that will ever exist – He for whom everything was created – emptied Himself and took the lowest place so that those in the lowest place could be exalted to the highest. It was the worst day humanity has ever experienced (we killed the Father’s only Son!), but it was also the greatest display of the love, mercy, and grace of God.
The attitude of Christ stands as the preeminent example of humility. He, the Firstborn over all creation, submitted Himself to His Father (and therefore His Father’s plan) and gave up all of His glory to become a man – a bondservant to all of mankind. Then, in perfect surrender and grace, He humbled Himself in obedience and journeyed to death – even the horrible and torturous death of the cross. He did not waver; He did not beg for mercy; He did not defend Himself; He gave up His rights, His power, His authority; He forgave the very ones who mocked and crucified Him; and, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges righteously.
All of that is wonderfully and finally true, but the command in this verse is to us, not to Him; His perfect example is an example to us. We are the ones who are to adopt this way of thinking; He already exemplified and embodied the pattern of humility that is now to be ours in Him. How does this play out? It begins with the choice to empty ourselves of ourselves and to be filled with the grace and Holy Spirit of God. Then, and only then, can we emulate the humble obedience that our Savior so perfectly fulfilled.
The grace of God is abundant, rich, and free to those who are humble. The issue, of course, is that we like to be in charge; we want control and we want the power to choose our own destiny. Yet, this is where the rubber hits the road: We cannot know and enjoy the benefits of the cross and the power of the resurrection if we refuse to bend our stubborn will to His. If we do, however, our Father opens up the heavens and pours forth His grace and His mighty power to accomplish in us and through us what is most pleasing to Him and most glorious for us.
We may be persecuted; we may be uncomfortable; we may miss out on the fun and frills; we might be hurt in the process; we may have to keep our mouth closed (when we most want to scream out our own defense); we may have to give up our rights – even to live; but, the cross stands forever as a reminder of what the Father has done through the humble obedience of the Son. If Christ was humbly obedient, how can we be any less? And, if the Father accomplished our salvation through Christ’s attitude and ensuing action, what does He want to do through our humility?
My beloved brethren, on this glorious Good Friday let us fix our eyes on our suffering Savior (and our risen Lord!) and get out of the way of what our Father has in mind. Let us unseat the profane and arrogant self and bow in utter submission to His authority and grace. Let us cultivate the attitude of Christ and embrace the life that He embodied.
“For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” ~2 Corinthians 5:13-15