The Humble Christ Exalted Pt 2
January 17, 2016 Speaker: Alex Kloosterman Series: Philippians: The Surpassing Worth of Knowing Christ
Topic: Transcriptions Passage: Philippians 2:9–2:12
When you hear the name of Jesus Christ, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Maybe because we live in a Western culture that has made movies of him, you would think of a blonde white guy with flowing locks and a nice white, whiter than everyone else, gown, walking around Palestine, that looks curiously like the Northeast. Or perhaps maybe you would think of Jesus more looking like a Jew of the time, ministering to the people’s needs, a poor man whose form no one consider. Consider, even you would think of him in his crucified state. Perhaps you would picture a man who is broken and bloodied for the sake of others, hanging on a cross between two others, lonely and on the outskirts. But its my experience, this isn’t a scientific study, but my experience is… not a lot of people, the first thing they think of when they think of Jesus is Jesus at the right hand of the Father. Not a lot of people think about the exulted Jesus Christ, who is given the name that is above every name, whose authority is above all authority, who everyone one day will submit to - that Jesus. But the exultation of Jesus is a doctrine and something that is taught in scripture about Jesus and it is so central to who he is. It is so central to understanding what he is doing in the world. And so today I want to consider with you guys the idea that Jesus Christ was and is exulted. I want to look at that together. What does that mean? We’ll see that the exultation of Jesus was the reward for his humble service – he was exulted because of his service at the cross. We’ll see that his exultation established him as having absolute and universal authority over all people everywhere. And it was done to restore God as the universal object of our worship. So let’s consider these things together.
First, Jesus was exulted as the reward of his humility. Look at the beginning. “Therefore, God has highly exalted him” (Philippians 2:9). Therefore is a very, very important word. It connects what the hymn writer is about to say with what he has just said. What I’m going to tell you is connected to, is because of, what I have just told you. It is because of Jesus’ humility as a servant, of his service and obedience, it is because of his ultimate humiliation on the cross that he was exulted. Apart from his humiliation, there would be no exultation. Exultation always follows humility. We see this all throughout the scripture. Jesus himself said, Luke 14:11, “Everyone who exults himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” This is a truism. There are no exceptions to this promise that God has that if you humble yourself, you will be exalted. Those who humble themselves before the Lord are exalted. James 4:6 says the same thing, “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
So what does it mean, to begin, that he was exalted? Well basically it means that he was given a position of honour that was entirely his own, that he was given a position of honour that is only belonging to him. It doesn’t just say ‘exalted’, it says ‘highly exalted’. The Greek says that he is ‘hyper-exalted’. This is the only place in the New Testament that this word is used, it is used of Jesus Christ. It means to give exceptional honour to. Exalted means to give exceptional honour to, and the fact that he was hyper-exalted means that he was honored even more – in a category and class of his own – than anywhere else. The idea is not that he was simply exalted compared to other people, like in a comparative sense of the word, a superlative, it means that he was exalted more than, greater than, above all, different than, in a league of his own, in a class of his own. He is not a ‘little bit above’ or even ‘way above’, there is no one in the same category as Jesus Christ. He was hyper-exalted, highly exalted. The same word is used in the Greek version of the Old Testament. Psalm 97:9, “For you, O Lord,” speaking of Yahweh, “For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth. You are hyper-exalted far above all the gods.” (Peter Thomas) O’Brien comments, “The point is not that Yahweh is one stage higher than the other deities, but that he is in a class by himself. He is truly the incomparable one.” The message of Yahweh to the Israelites, to his people that were surrounded by a nation of other gods, living in a world that worshipped many hundreds of thousands of gods is not just that “I am the biggest, and that I am the best, and that I am stronger” but “I alone am in this category, I am the only one in this category. I am not the big brother around a bunch of little brother-gods.” To say that God exalted Jesus means that he gave exceptional honour to him. To say that he highly exalted him is to say that he gave him honour that only is fitting to Jesus Christ. Only fitting. And it is because of his humiliation that he has received this honour.
As we were singing, the words came to my mind, as we were singing one of the songs, from Revelation chapter 4 and chapter 5, describing the worship of Jesus. This same idea is here, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour,” to be exalted, “and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11) And he goes onto say in chapter 5, verse 9: “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,” (Revelation 5:9) It’s the same idea. John says that the heavenly chorus is singing that the Lord is worthy because he is Creator, to receive honour and glory and power. But he is also worthy because he was slain. Who was worthy to open the scroll? Jesus is. Why is he worthy? Because he was slain. That’s the same thing Paul is saying in Philippians. Jesus is highly honored above all else, therefore he was highly exalted. Because of his humiliation. The exultation always follows the humiliation and Jesus’ humiliation is in a league of its own. We looked it up last week, “in the form of God[…] taking on the form of a servant” (Philippians 2: 6-7). This hymn begins on the mountain-piece of heaven before eternity and the Son of God, the man who was in the form of God - before he became a man rather - he descends. And the hymn moves into a valley and it goes into the darkest parts of the valley, and in fact moves into the abyss of this God not only taking on the form of a slave and the form of a servant, but becoming obedient to death - and even deeper, further down - death on a cross. Humiliation in the highest degree. There is no distance that will ever be travelled from heaven to the cross. If you become the most perfect, humble being, if you were to suffer complete humiliation and all of yourself and your thoughts of yourself would become completely erased, the distance you have travelled from your private humility would not even come close comparing to the distance that Jesus travelled, to the depths that he suffered. Jesus received the greatest honour because he suffered the greatest humiliation. This is a truism. I want to look at why does exultation follow humility. Why does Jesus say this is true of the world, ultimately true of me? Why does exultation always follow humility, for Jesus and for us?
Look at two texts. Matthew 23:11-12, and this is very important, you can go to sleep after this, “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” What is humility, according to Jesus here? Humility means taking the form of a servant, which we saw in the hymn in Philippians. Jesus humbled himself, he took on the form of a servant. Jesus is saying that the greatest person, the most honored person, is actually the one who is the most servant-hearted. So humility means the most servant-hearted, which Philippians tells us. We do things for the sake of others, not for our own ambitions. We consider others more important than ourselves. We look to others’ interests, not just to our own. (Philippians 2:3-4). Second is the passage that Ben read, Luke 18:9-14, “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt,” The people who were prideful, who trusted themselves, and who does he describe as the humble? “But the tax collector, standing far off would not even lift up his eyes to heaven,” He was so guilty and he knew it, that when he prayed he wouldn’t even look up. I’ve felt that way – so guilty. God, the merciful, to me, a sinner. The one man stands, thanking God that he’s not like the others and the other man can hardly raise his face, simply crying for mercy. Well what does Jesus say? “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” What is humility here? Humility means not trusting in ourselves, that we are righteous. Humility means acknowledging our sin before God, it means crying out to God for mercy, and it means trusting that he will give it. So humility is not trusting in ourselves, humility is becoming a servant of other people, humility is trusting in the promises of God, acknowledging our failures.
So, again, the question: why is God pleased always to exult the humble? God can exult the humble and give honour to the humble, because the humble give honour to God. When God exults someone who is humble and gives honour to them, it doesn’t diminish God’s glory. There’s no competition. When God exults the humble sinner who cries out for mercy, he is saying, “Look at this person! This person is showing you what I am like. I am not like a god who rewards the good people, the people who think they’re better than other people. I am not a god who is not just, who cannot see the depths of your sin, and you standing there in your pretentiousness. I see that. I am a God of justice. But look at this man, who cried out to me for mercy, I will honour him and I will say, ‘Look at this man.’ And you will glorify me, because you will see what I am like.” God is steadfast love and faithfulness, God who forgives, God of mercy and of grace. If God was to exult the proud, it would distort who God is. If God was to lift up the man who lifted up himself, it would mean that God is not the source of our salvation – you are. If God was to lift up the people who lifted up themselves, then you would not be dependent upon the mercy and the grace of God. But that’s what we do in our culture. We lift up the people who we think pulled themselves up. We exult in human ambition, we exult in human achievement, and not the achievement of God, and not the mercy of God. God is pleased to exult the servant-hearted because the servant heart glorifies God. This is what God is like. God can take a servant-hearted person and say, ‘Look, I give honour to this person.’ So everyone looks at that person and all they see is what God is like. God is a sacrificial servant-hearted kind of leader. God always exults the humble because it glorifies him to do so. The prideful, those who exult themselves, are always taking God’s glory, trying to show the glories about us, the focus is on us. The humble know that its all about God. So God can lift those people up. God can exult Jesus Christ and give him the most honour because Christ humbled himself the greatest. God exulting Christ is saying, “Look at him! This is what I am like. Look at him! This is what I have done.” They are not competing with one another. The application for us is have we humbled ourselves? Are we like that man who trusts in ourselves, that we are righteous? Are we afraid of kneeling before the Lord and asking for mercy? Have we forgot that it is those who humble themselves that are exalted? Have we sought to exalt ourselves before the Lord? God is gracious and God is merciful. God will always exult those who humble themselves. No one will cry out for mercy and turn away from God. Ever. So Jesus’ exultation was a response to his humiliation.
Second point. Jesus was exulted to receive absolute and universal authority. “He bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” (Philippians 2:9) This is connecting Jesus’ exultation with how it is done. How did God actually exult Jesus, in what way did he honour him? How could you bestow honour upon someone? Everyone does this, we all do this, every culture, every people does this. It’s impossible not to. Think about maybe someone had an extreme act of heroism, maybe someone would rush into a building or put themselves in the way of harm for another person – we would respond by honoring that person. Maybe something we would do is we would have a ceremony, a public ceremony, to say, “Look at this person. Look at the virtues that we admire in them.” Maybe there would be some kind of financial compensation, maybe there would be a reward in their name, maybe they would receive the keys to the city. Think about Remembrance Day, the commemoration of those who sacrificed themselves in the war. We remember them, why? We are giving honour to them. And this is what the Word is saying here, that the way that God honored, highly exalted, Jesus wasn’t by giving him a plaque, or naming a day after him, it wasn’t a financial reward, it wasn’t merely gold or silver. It was giving him the name that is above every name. That’s how God honored him. Before Jesus was born, his parents were instructed to name him Jesus. Matthew 1:21, “She will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus. For he will save his people from their sins.” Wrapped up in a name, in a Biblical understanding, its not just a name as we think of it, it’s the idea of a type. It talks about who you are and what you do, it explains your very nature. So we see, “Name him Jesus, because he is going to be one to save them from their sins.” And after Jesus died he was given another name by the Father. Acts 2:36, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” The name that he gave him was Lord, which it says in verse 11, “and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:11). The name that he gave him after his crucifixion, when he exalted him, was Lord. In other words, he gave him the name of God, the title of God. The Lord is the name of God. When you look in your Old Testament and you see ‘LORD’, capital L-O-R-D, that’s where its saying Yahweh, the name that God gave to Israel. And they translated it LORD and the Greek translation is Lord in the New Testament. The name Lord means that he is both absolute and universal authority. Ephesians 1:20-22, “When he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, above every name that is named, not only in this age but in the age to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church.” Jesus Christ’s humble obedience and sacrificial death resulted in the Father giving him the name Lord, saying I am placing my authority… Jesus said this, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18).
But Jesus was already God. That’s what we understand, it says in the first part of this hymn that Jesus was in the form of God, he had the nature of God. Then didn’t he already have the authority of God? What does it mean that Jesus, all of a sudden, was given the name Lord? I thought Jesus was the Lord? He is the Lord. God is showing us that all authority is rooted in humble service. It is used for the sake and the service of others. This is what a true leader is. Jesus Christ in coming to earth, in becoming a servant, in suffering and dying, is showing us what true authority really is. He wasn’t just doing something so that he would be given authority, so then he could exercise his authority. When he came to earth and died he was exercising his authority. And God giving him the name Lord is vindicating that. “This is the kind of king that I desire; this is the kind of king that I am. This is the kind of leader that I am. This is the kind of ruler that I am.” Jesus suffering in death was not separate from his rule, it was his rule. When the Israelites asked for a king, what did God say? “Great idea, guys. A king is really what you need. Kings are nice people; they’ll take care of you.” No. He said, “That’s a horrible idea. Do you know what those guys are like? They’re like you! They’re just the same as you. Only they’re worse because they take someone who is stupid and is sinful and is narrow-minded as you and you give them power. Good idea. I’ll grant your wish – but let me tell you what it’s gonna be like. It’s gonna suck.” And so Israel thought, “What we really need is a human king, like all these other people around us. Someone who can rule us and protect us and guide us.” And God says, “I was your king! And yet that wasn’t enough for you. You don’t want my authority, you want others’ authority.” And history is just full of examples of abusive authority and tyrannical authority. And lest we just drop names like Hitler and Stalin and all those, we should start by looking in the mirror. Because inside all of us is a little tyrant who likes to rule and he likes to be served and he doesn’t like to serve. The cross was Jesus exercising his divine right to the throne. When we see, “Therefore he has exalted him and given him the name,” It’s not like all of a sudden Jesus just became the king. It is God vindicating him, saying, “That is the kind of king that we need. That is the kind of king that I am. I am going to lift this man up, myself in this man, and show you what a true king, a true leader, a true God is like.”
Authority is always tied to humble, sacrificial authority. We see this in the church and in the family. A lot of people are afraid of authority, they think that giving any kind of authority is bad. “We need to not have authority, we need to have church without elders and we need to not have husbands in the home.” But you don’t get rid of authority, you just move it somewhere. It just gets shuffled around somewhere. People are rightly afraid of bad authority because sinners take wrongful authority. But Jesus shows us what it truly is. True authority is rooted in sacrificial responsibility. Husbands are to what? Love their wives by giving themselves up for them. (Ephesians 5: 25) By dying. That’s headship in the home. Elders are to rule well and how are they to do so? By giving themselves up for the sheep. That’s how you rule. We need to connect these things together. When we separate responsibility and authority we get all kinds of problems. If we have someone with authority without sacrificial responsibility, we have a tyrant. And when we tell people to take responsibility for things and don’t give them authority to do so, we make them impotent. We need to keep these things and hold them in a Biblical way. All authority comes out of sacrificial responsibility. Jesus is the climax of this. He is a league of his own for taking his sacrificial responsibility. Further, this shows that Jesus’ authority means that he does not only occupy a corner of our hearts, he doesn’t occupy a corner of our lives. He has absolute claim over all of our lives. Not Sundays - every day - until we die, and forever. And it means that Jesus doesn’t just have rule and reign and authority over our lives. Jesus’ death, his crucifixion and his being exulted to the right hand of the Father, and being highly exalted and highly honored means that he has authority over everyone. Jesus Christ is Lord.
This passage is a hymn that the early church sang. Paul is writing to the early church in Philippi, so maybe they knew about it, maybe they didn’t know about it, but they would probably sing it. But when they would hear “Jesus Christ is Lord,” immediately they’re thinking, “Caesar is Lord.” Because that’s what everyone else around them is saying. The imperial cult is that Caesar is Lord. And you have to confess this. And sure, you could confess many other gods as well. The Romans were cool with that. Like, “Take your god to your little corner of your life, take your little god for your fertility, and your little god for your rain, and your little god for this, your god for that, your god for that…” But what if there is a God who is in a category of his own, who is Lord over all those gods? Who says, in fact, that those gods are not really gods. Well that’s what Jesus is saying, “I’m not one among many, I’m in a class of my own.” To confess that Jesus Christ is Lord is to say that Caesar is not. Pluralism doesn’t fly with Jesus. We can love and respect and treat with dignity people with other religions, and we can give them courtesy, we can protect their rights as citizens in our country, but the claim of Jesus is not that he is just good for us. It is that he is the Lord. He has authority over everyone and over everything. There is no one above him and he is over all. This is what got the Christians into trouble. And because we rarely confess this, its what rarely gets us into trouble.
Third, Jesus was exalted so that his absolute and universal authority would be submitted to. So Jesus’ exultation is rooted in humility and established his authority, but it goes even further – it was so that he would actually be submitted to. Jesus didn’t die so that maybe someday somebody would like him and maybe follow him and maybe choose to submit to him. Jesus died so that he would establish universal authority so that one day everyone would submit to him. “So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Philippians 2:10-11)
History has a direction. There is a story to this world, and there is a purpose to this world, there is a meta-narrative. It’s not my story, it’s not your story, it’s not one of many stories. And the story of this world begins with a kind, a benevolent, a gracious God creating the world. And he created us humans to rule in his image, to show the world what this God is like: he is kind, he is gracious. He loves to follow his love and authority and instead, in the very beginning, there was a rebellion, “I don’t want your authority. I do not trust you. I want to rule. I want to govern. I want to reign.” And history is a sad, and awful, and horrifying picture of us trying to govern ourselves, of us trying to rule ourselves. You see, when we reject the rule and the reign of God, because some of you may be thinking, “Okay, this is sounding somewhat fanatical. I thought we’re not allowed to say that someone is the boss of everyone. Where are you going with this?” I would submit to you that its not whether we have authority, or whether we submit to authority, whether we exercise authority, it’s what authority. And when we look at Jesus Christ establishing it in his humble submission, his loving obedience, he is the only one, as John says, worthy for honour and authority. But we do we do? We reject him; we made ourselves the boss. Romans 1 says that instead we rejected the Creator, we didn’t worship him. Instead we worshipped images of creation (Romans 1:25). We didn’t stop having authority when we abandoned God’s authority, we just became it. The boss became the person in the mirror. Worshipping something in creation, we made up these ideas of God that are strangely like us, that grant all of our wishes, that we can actually live up to their standards. People, of course, still worship God, as in he’ll have some kind of authority in their life. But it’s not true authority.
So what did this king do? The king sent his Son. The king didn’t immediately crush all of these rebels, but he made a promise that someone is going to come save you from your rebellion. When you have seen the effect of it, and when you have seen the fruit of it, at the appointed time, someone will come, I will come. And we see that person is a servant. And it gets clearer and clearer and clearer who God is. Isaiah 53 says he is a suffering servant. All of a sudden this God is going to come and he’s going to be the one to suffer. How will this work out? Jesus. Jesus is God come in the flesh. He is the one come to bring rebels home, who rejected his authority. So he submitted himself. The grand of the grand ironies of the cross is that Jesus Christ was judged in a human court. He was judged. You see, we didn’t give up all authority and live in this fake egalitarian state where we’re all just on equal playing ground. The only person in the history of the world who deserves and has rightful authority – we stood over top of him. The crucifixion is the horror of man on display: the desire to rule and to govern and to be over people, to have people serve us at any, and all, and every cost. The idea is the display of grace and the love of God can still make a way for rebels to come.
The fact that Jesus is exalted means that one day everyone will submit to his authority. He didn’t simply reestablish it in hopes that one day that would happen, but he guarantees that one day it will. This idea that “one day every knee should bow” is the fulfillment of the prophecy to Isaiah, Isaiah 45:23-24, “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.” Everyone, everywhere. All of a sudden, Paul says this is Jesus. Isaiah says this is the Lord, Paul says this is Jesus. Jesus is God, the one we submit to. To bow means to give worship to and submit to one’s authority, Psalm 95:6-8 brings this up perfectly, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker! For he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness.” Psalm 95: 6-8. Let us worship and bow down. He is a good God. Jesus was exulted so that one day everyone would bow down to him. To confess his name means to declare openly in acknowledgement. To confess that Jesus Christ is Lord does not mean that people will whole-heartedly and humbly confess that he is the Lord. It’s the sad reality that one day people will be without excuse and will have no other conclusion to draw other than he is lord. Confess doesn’t mean that they embrace it, it means to declare openly in acknowledgement, not necessarily worship and humble submission. Jesus Christ established his authority through his death and one day everyone will see. Everyone will see it. People who think he is a fairy will see him. People who think this is the biggest joke in the world will see him. People who think we’re nut-bars will see him. People who hate him will see him. And every tongue will cease and every mouth will close. And the only time it opens will be to say, “Jesus Christ is Lord.” Either in worship or in fear.
See, this is a radical picture of Jesus. We compartmentalize Jesus. We have Jesus in not only parts of our lives, but we have Jesus in parts of our life, in our view of the world. Do you feel kind of the tension that is coming out here in the claims Jesus is making, and the way that would feel for people who don’t know Jesus? And maybe you don’t know Jesus and you thought the music was nice, but this is getting intense. Jesus’ claim, Jesus’ right, Jesus’ worth is that of an exalted king whose authority is not only absolute, it is universal. And it is a hundred percent certain. If we don’t know Jesus, that should be something seriously to consider. And if we know Jesus, we should really stop worrying about things. We should stop living as if his plans are all contingent upon our own lives. This is an amazing promise. One day it won’t be sixty people in Murray Street Baptist Church. The glory of the Lord will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. There will be nothing but the confession of Jesus is Lord. There will be no more witnessing, no more evangelism; there’ll be no opportunity. And this should also spur us on and encourage us. We are not in a losing battle. Confessing that Jesus is Lord means, as I said, that Caesar is not. All other absolute claims in our life are false. Have we bowed our knee to Jesus? One day we will. He confronts our deep desire to self-govern, to self-rule. He alone is the one worthy to rule, the humble servant king. He is the historical certainty we have in our life. The point of the world is to worship Christ. And his exultation guarantees that one day this will happen. The exultation of Jesus was the great reversal of the world; it was the point that the direction of the world drastically changed. Where everyone was worshipping and everyone was being ruled by themselves and governing themselves – Jesus came and died and was exulted. And all of a sudden, the world is working its way back as people come to bend the knee to Jesus. That what began is a life of loving obedience, a life of perfection, a life of blessing under God’s rule being restored to them. God is restoring his rule and his kingdom in this world through the sacrificial love of king Jesus. And finally we see that Jesus was exalted to glorify the Father. “Every tongue,” verse 11, “will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.” (Philippians 2:11)
I began this sermon by explaining to you how God can exult and give honor to somebody else who is not him in a way that it doesn’t take away from his glory. And the reason he can exult the humble is because the humble are the ones who exult God. He can exult the humble because the humble are those who depend on God, who trust in God, who serve God, who glorify God. The humble are those, when we look upon them like we do Jesus, we see a picture of who God is and what he’s done. So the words of the hymn close, that all of this – Jesus’ coming, his suffering, his dying, his rising, his exulting – all of this is done to the glory of God the Father. God can give the name Lord, the name of God, he can give him all authority, God’s authority, absolute honor. So that when we come to church we don’t have to feel weird about singing to Jesus, we don’t feel weird by praying to Jesus, as if we’re… like, “should I also be praying to the Father? Am I doing something wrong here? Am I stealing some glory?” That’s not how this works. When we glorify Jesus for his death and we glorify Jesus for being the Saviour of sinners, when we glorify Jesus for being the substitute Saviour, the servant-hearted king, we are glorifying God. God is saying, “This is what I am like! This is the God that I am!” He passed before Moses and he says, “I will show you my glory. I will show you what I am like. I am a God of mercy and grace. Steadfast love and faithfulness. Slow to anger. And yet I will by no means pardon the guilty.” God can lift up Jesus Christ and give him the most honor, a league of his own, a class of his own, because he fully and finally displays all that God is. When we see Jesus Christ, we see the mercy of God, we see the kindness of God, despite our rebellion, that he is willing to come for us. We see the steadfast love of God, that he will not give up on his plans for his people. We see that God is willing to forgive, unlike us, so often. Unlike every other God. And we see that God is just. He is not some old man sitting in the clouds, unaware. He sees everything. He will bring justice. And those things come together on the cross. And so when Jesus is lifted up., God is glorified. “This is what I am like. This is who I am.” Our response is to get in line with history, to get in line with the purposes of the world, and to submit to King Jesus – the only true king, the only rightful king, the only worthy king. We come back to Jesus’ story about those who exult themselves, those people who think they are righteous, he says, that they are better than others. And the humble are those who confess, they can hardly look up. God is righteous; I am not righteous. But I am banking wholeheartedly on the mercy of God the forgiver. I am under no pretense that I am okay on my own, I am under no pretense that God is just a fairy who will look over us– he will judge. And yet he is loving and forgiving. For us to humble ourselves, bringing this to the ground, means to submit ourselves to the Lord Jesus as our Saviour. It means despairing of our righteous, to stop putting off confession because we’re prideful, to bend our knees in confession before the Lord, for he has been faithful and just to forgive us. He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He will exalt those who humble themselves and he will humble those who exalt themselves. Trust this promise. Let’s pray.
The Gathering Church | Peterborough Ontario | Trent University
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