Throughout the Scriptures, the Bible speaks of both the humiliation and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, in the fifth chapter of the book of Revelation, John speaks of Christ’s humiliation when he talks about the “Lamb who was slain” (5:12), but in the same chapter, John also speaks of Christ’s exaltation as he talks about the triumphant “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (5:5). The Lamb/Lion theme is a humiliation/exaltation theme.
Peter does the same thing in one of his sermons in the book of Acts. In Acts 2, Peter preaches about Christ’s sufferings and death on the cross – Jesus’ humiliation. Yet, in the same sermon, Peter ends by speaking of Jesus’ triumphant resurrection – part of Jesus’ exaltation. The sufferings/ resurrection theme is a humiliation/exaltation theme.
The same theme is in our text today. In fact, the text found in Philippians 2:5-11 displays the humiliation/ exaltation of Christ more clearly than any place in the Bible. Here, the Apostle Paul focuses first on Christ’s humiliation: Jesus “took the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men, and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” The humiliation is a focus on Christ’s service, humanity, humility, suffering, and death.
Paul then immediately moves to the exaltation of Jesus by saying, “God has highly 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.” This exaltation is a focus on Christ’s resurrection, ascension, session, and promise of return.
Rev. Adam Mumpower, Senior Pastor