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7:30am: January 13, 2013
Today's lesson, "The Humility and Exaltation of Jesus," is based on Philippians chapter 2. The key verse is Phil. 2:5: "Let this mind me in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
In this week's lesson, Paul addresses the biggest threat facing the church at Phillip: internal conflicts. He begins by saying that they should have the attitude or frame of mind that Christ Jesus had which is one of humility, love and service.
The next verse, "Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God," has given scholars challenges. According to the UMI Commentary, Jesus was equal with God in His divine nature but did not see his equality as a position to selfishly grasp. But it was about giving and spending himself for others.
Paul reminds us that Jesus gave up the privileges He had as God by taking on human form, humbling himself in obedience to God the Father, and allowing himself to die a criminal's death on a cross.
And because Jesus allowed himself to undergo all of this, He was highly exalted by God the Father who gave Him a name that is above every name. Bible scholar Gerald Hawthorne writes that this is the principle that runs throughout the Scripture: self humbling leads to exaltation.
Paul tells us that this name is also so exalted that just hearing it should make everyone respectfully bow and openly confess that Jesus Christ is indeed Lord to the glory of God the Father. Again Hawthorne tells us that "the surest way to win the praise of God is by steadfastly serving others."
This lesson points out that selfless behavior is Christ-like behavior, and that kind of attitude pleases God the Father.
I hope you will study this lesson for yourself.