Almighty and everlasting God, in your tender love for us you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon himself our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and come to share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. AMEN.
The above collect (prayer) is appointed for Palm Sunday. If we carefully listen to the prayer, we can hear the force of Paul’s message to the Philippians framing it.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature 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 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! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5–11)
Paul’s words to the Philippians are considered to be an early hymn (song) or creed (profession of faith) used in the ancient worship of the early Church. It is both instructive and practical, emphasizing the humility and obedience of Jesus, who became a servant to die on a cross to save the world. As a result of his cross and resurrection, God exalted him as our Savior and Lord.
With that in mind, how should we respond to Philippians 2:5–11? Here are a few suggestions:
- Ponder the theology of this passage. Good songs and creeds shape our theology, and this ancient creed is one to think about often and maybe even to memorize.
- Believe the testimony of this passage. Along with saints from all ages, join in the testimony that “Jesus Christ is Lord.”
- Follow the lifestyle outlined in this passage. Throughout his letters, Paul highlights the lifestyles of various people, but no one is a better model than Jesus.
- Tell the world about the message of this passage. As Christians, our mission is to tell the world that Jesus is Lord, and if they confess and believe in Him, they will be saved (Rom 10:9, 13).
Merciful Father, grant that we may walk in the ways of Jesus so that we may share in the resurrection of Jesus.
The Lord’s peace be with you!