For an introduction to this series, click here.
This is one of the richest chapters in all the Bible. We will see if I have to divide this into two. (I know it is not very long, but there is so much here.)
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from participation in the Spirit, any love, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so 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." (2:1-11, ESV)
There is no way I can cover everything in this passage here. First of all I want you to notice that Paul is telling us that Christ is our example of humility and love for each other. It is so easy to get our minds off of the Lord Jesus and on our neighbors. We want to prove that we are somehow better than them as if everyone is ranking one another on some other sort of competition or comparison. Thankfully Jesus did not come to earth with that kind of attitude. It is also important to note that late in Chapter 1 Paul talks about those who preached the Gospel out of spite. Paul said earlier that he rejoiced that the Gospel was being preached, but here he says that it is still wrong to do things to stir up strife or to lift ourselves up in pride.
The last section, which tells us about the humility of Christ, is probably an early Christian hymn that Paul immortalized forever in the Bible. Some people twist this passage, saying that the fact that Jesus did not "count equality with God a thing to be grasped" means that He was not really God. But of course these arguments only work on those who do not read for themselves. When you look at this passage in context, it is clear this phrase means that He did not hang on to His privileges as God, but humbled Himself to become a man.
Now I always wonder what it meant to be God and man at the same time. I don't think we will ever fully comprehend what Jesus went through, and there really is no reason we should, but it has always been fascinating to me: how Jesus could be all-knowing and all-powerful and yet be a man. I guess Jesus kind of got used to it and was able to put it out of His mind and concentrate on the moment. We know that Jesus told Nathaniel that He saw him under the fig tree, so that means He must have been just as aware of an Indian huddled over a campfire on the banks of the Missouri River. Seems like that would be a lot of background noise that Jesus had to put behind Him in order to function.
Oh well. I have a lot I want to say about the next section, so I guess I will save that for tomorrow.