Tuesday, July 7, 2009
This is the Greek word for self-emptying. It is of particular interest in the second chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, where the humble mission of Jesus is described:
"5-8Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
9-11Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father."
Can we get our minds around this? The eternally blessed God Son leaves Heaven for a cradle and a mother's doting caress and diapers. The young family journeys to Egypt to escape the jealous wrath of Herod. The Nazareth carpenter's shop. The young apprentice's trial and error approach to a trade. Impatient, overbearing customers waiting for a table and haggling over the price. The increasing propensity to late night journeys up the hill to commune with the Heavenly Father in prayer. The growing realization of his mission. The reading and re-reading of Deuteronomy 18 in the ancient script. Psalms 89 and 118. The news of the Baptist, and the community's heartfelt desire for a new Golden Age; for an end to Rome's yoke. And then that moment, at the Jordan, when corroboration comes from the clouds, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
Our Saviour became man. Laid aside omniscience, omnipotence, omni-presence. Here was no Greek myth of an Olympian playing masquerade ball in the midst of mortals. Here was an incarnation, and because of it we enjoy a very trustworthy, sympathetic and approachable High Priest.
With His ascension and glorification (Acts 1), Jesus enjoyed again all divine attributes and powers without limitation.
Consider Hebrews 4
14-16Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let's not let it slip through our fingers. We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let's walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. (The Message)