Humbled and Exalted
Bible Reading: Philippians 2:5-11
Alas, according to the law of gravity, what goes up must inevitably come down! That is a law which governs the way things work on this planet. It is an undeniable and unavoidable reality. There are many such laws of physics and life pertaining to the physical realm of our existence. Likewise, there are spiritual laws which relate to all of us. There are undeniable spiritual laws, axioms if you will, which govern the affairs of men in relationship to God.
One of those is a principle often cited in the Bible: “Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:7-11, 18:9-14; Matthew 23:6-12). Those who lift themselves up in pride, will be humbled by God. Those who humble themselves before God, shall be exalted (Cf. Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).
This validity of this spiritual truism is vividly demonstrated in the example of the Lord Jesus. Philippians 2:5-8 speaks to the humility of Christ. Philippians 2:9-11 speaks to His exaltation. To what extent did Jesus humble himself? To the maximum extent possible! In descending from the heights of heaven, then humbling himself to the point of death on a cross, he humbled himself beyond that of any person in the history of men. “He humbled Himself” (Philippians 2:8). He was not humbled by others. He deliberately chose that path. He “super-humbled” Himself.
So, on the other side of this spiritual axiom, we have the expected result. “He who humbles Himself shall be exalted.” So, what if someone decided to super-humble themselves in a transcendent and preeminent manner? What would we expect in that case? Well it is exactly as we suppose—according to this spiritual law—that person would be “super-exalted” to a place of preeminent honor. This is exactly what we read about in the history of Jesus. He was born into this world. He lived among men as a servant. He humbled Himself to the point of death. He died on a cross for sins. He rose from the dead. In Acts chapter 1 we read of how He ascended to heaven. And in his first sermon, Peter preached on these matters. And we read in Acts 2:32-33, “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God…”
Charles Spurgeon, “He stooped, who can tell how low? He was raised, who shall tell how high? “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him. He threw away his name; he emptied himself of his reputation. How high is his reputation now! How glorious is the name that God hath given him as the reward of his redemptive work!” And He stands in this super-exalted position in relation to the church, His body. From heaven He exercises authority (Matthew 28:18). From heaven He is at work preparing His bride, the church, for His return (Ephesians 5:27). From heaven He intercedes on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25). God has given to Him the Highest Place, the Highest Name, and the Highest Reign. The One who died for sins in humility, is now exalted to the right hand of God in glory. And He’s coming again and will reign over all.
The path of humility demonstrated in Jesus, is the path to which He has called us as believers (Philippians 2:3-5). The Apostle Peter put it this way (1 Peter 5:5-6): “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He might exalt you at the proper time.” In other words, live like Jesus. Humbly serve Jesus by serving others. In due time you will receive your reward.
Lord Jesus, we are forever amazed at You in Your sacrifice, that You would humble Yourself to the point of death for us! But now God has exalted You above all! As we eagerly wait for your return, may we be careful to follow in Your example as we humbly serve You as we serve others!
Emptied of His glory, God became a man
To walk on earth in ridicule and shame
A ruler yet a servant, A shepherd yet a lamb
A man of sorrows, agony and shame.
Humbled and rejected, Beaten and despised,
Upon the Cross the Son of God was slain
Just like a lamb to slaughter, A sinless sacrifice
But by His death His Cross became our gain.
Satan’s forces crumbled, Like a mighty wall
The stone that held Him in was rolled aside
The Prince of life in glory, Was lifted over all
Now earth and heaven echo with a cry.
He is Lord! He is Lord! He is risen from the dead
And He is Lord!
Every knee shall bow, Every tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord!