I grew up in the church, and I am not ashamed to admit it. That’s not a popular stance to take today, but my childhood is filled with wonderful memories of church. One of those was my grandmother. She loved to sing and had most hymns memorized. She never needed a hymn book and sang with all of her might. Inside those hymns were some of the most important lessons I’ve learned. That’s what you see in today’s passage.
“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.”
Last week I told you how Paul inserted several creeds and songs that the early church sang. These were there to help teach and preserve essential doctrines. It doesn’t get any more important than the incarnation (Jesus coming to earth as a human) and the atonement (Jesus dying on the cross as our substitute). Jesus was both God and man while he was on earth, but He emptied Himself and became a servant. Those are life-changing doctrines.
No other world religion’s leader claims what Jesus does. Most recognize that He was a good teacher but reject that He was God. The only way your life will be changed is by believing these doctrines and submitting yourself under His lordship. Otherwise, you have some moral teachings and no hope. Jesus came and died on the cross so that you could have life by your sins being forgiven and your relationship with God being made right. Everything else is empty and a false gospel.
Some like to focus on Jesus’ servant leadership in the passage. They like to point out that He is a good example to follow, and they are correct, but the importance here is placed on Him becoming man and fulfilling His Father’s will here on earth. What wealthy person do you know who will lay aside their privilege and commit their lives to help others? Jesus left His position next to His Father in Heaven and came down to earth to make things right.