“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.” – Philippians 2:5-7 (emphasis mine)
Verses 6-11 of this passage are said to be a hymn about Christ, and it is part of verse 6 that I have emphasized above. It just renders me speechless to know that Jesus “did not view equality with God as something to be exploited” and that he chose to be born in human likeness, giving up all of the powers that He had as the second person of the Trinity. He chose to be born in an occupied land to people who had no power or prestige. He was born in a manger, in a filthy place instead of in a castle. He worked as a carpenter, which I have heard was more like a construction worker of sorts at that time. The Son of God chose to give up everything he had and to live among us. How amazing and earthshattering is that?!?!?
A few years ago on Maundy Thursday, I was kneeling in prayer while the altar was being stripped, and my mind went to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He was praying that he wouldn’t have to die on the Cross. He knew it was part of the plan, He knew it would be excruciatingly painful, and He was having what seemed to be a moment of fear. What came to me that night was that Jesus is present with us in those liminal times when we are about to face some kind of transition. Those kinds of times are really scary for me because change is scary. Yet, Jesus emptied Himself and became human to understand the fear that we face, and He is there with us as we are facing it.
How amazing is our Lord!
Lord, we thank you for choosing to give up equality with God so that you could come and live as one of us, die in our place, and make it so that death is not the end. This gift of love is more than we can fathom. Amen.