God exalted [Christ Jesus] to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Exalted for Us
During the prime of his career, Muhammad Ali was sitting on a plane waiting for takeoff, when the flight attendant walked by and kindly reminded him to fasten his seat belt. The great boxer joked, “Superman don’t need no seat belt.” The flight attendant said, “Superman don’t need no plane either.” Responding to her remark the great fighter fastened his seat belt. Ali was probably just having fun with the flight attendant, but the exchange reveals something about human nature. We tend to think of ourselves more highly than we ought. In addition, our culture sends the message that humility is a sign of weakness: If you are humble, people will walk all over you, and you will never get ahead.
Jesus’ entire life sends a different message. The Bible points to it as the ultimate example of humility: “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. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8) Even though Jesus was more powerful than a superman, he never once flaunted it. Even though he is the creator of the universe, he never used his control over nature to bring himself glory or honor. Instead he made himself nothing—the Son of God humbled himself to death on a cross.
But God exalted Jesus to the “highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” Even though Jesus looked more like a worm than a man as he hung suffering on the cross, on the third day God glorified him by raising him from the dead. Forty days later he gave Jesus the position of highest authority at his right hand in the heavenly realms. One day everyone will acknowledge his glory.
Right now, we can acknowledge his glory and “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Jesus humbled himself for each of us to become our sin. His exaltation guarantees that all those who trust in him will go where he has gone. Even now as we live humbly here on earth, we can place our faith in a Savior who forgives our sins and uses his exalted glory for the good of his people.
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus who willing humbled himself and was exalted by your power. As we face doubts, challenges, and difficulties today, help us to remember that our exalted Savior is using all things for our eternal good. Amen.
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