Bible Notes

Things the Word is teaching me.

Philippians 2:5-7

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

Sometimes it takes a long time for us to see things that are smack in front of our eyes.  Lately I've been meditating on one of these new realizations, and this section of Philippians centers on it.

People familiar with Philippians know this is only the first part of a gorgeous section of poetry about what Christ did for us after he was "made in human likeness."  But this section is what really arrests me right now:  Jesus, made in human likeness.

Author E. G. White is one of the people who have helped me see it:

"In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken.  Through the eternal ages He is linked with us.  'God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.' John 3:16.  He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race.  To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature."  (The Desire of Ages, p. 41)

Part of the human family, forever retaining his human nature.  Before Christ died for us, he became human for us, and is still human for us, and will always be human for us.

I have no idea what the "nature of God" is like, which Philippians talks about and which Jesus Christ shared from before our world got made, but I'm pretty sure it has fewer limitations and needs than a human body has.  Jesus saddled himself with our limitations and needs, willingly and forever.

It's the "forever" part that really boggles me.  Certainly I recognized he did it for a short period of time on earth, and he suffered terribly during those years.  But Jesus is still human, still carries around a human body.  He will ALWAYS walk around in a human body now.  This is part of what he took on for us.

It's not the most vital part.  But it helps me realize the magnitude of Jesus' love and service a little more deeply, helps this to sink in with more weight.

It also gives other words even more boggling implications, makes me realize their truth and weight.  Some of them are in John 14, where Jesus tells the disciples "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."

Madeleine L'Engle helps me understand this by spelling it out:  "We were not meant to be any more restricted than Jesus was during his sojourn with us here on this earth.  If we take seriously that during the time of his Incarnation he was truly man, human as we are, then anything he did in his lifetime is available to us too." (Walking on Water, p. 97)