2003-08-31 - The Great Parabola
Philippians, Part 15
The Submissive Mind - Cont.d
James Montgomery Boice gives an excellent introduction to the verses we are
going to consider in this study:
"IN THE FOURTEENTH CHAPTER of Isaiah there are two verses that tell of the
thoughts that entered Lucifers head at the moment when he first rebelled
against God. Isaiah writes, 'For thou has said in thine heart, I will ascend
into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also
upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north, I will ascend
above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High' (Isa. 14:13,14).
Every verb in this passage, every image, points to Satans desire to
rise to the apogee of Gods universe. I will ascend above the clouds,
above the stars, above the heavens. I will sit on the mount of congregation.
I will be like the Most High. Satan boasted that he would go up. But the
words that follow speak of his actual destiny: 'Yet thou shalt be brought
down to sheol, to the sides of the pit.'"
The second chapter of Philippians contains the New Testament counterpart
to Satans words in Isaiah. "Let this mind be in you, which was also
in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to
be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the
form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And, being found
in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even
the death of the cross. Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him, and
given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every
knee should bow, of things, in heaven, and things in earth, and things under
the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father" (2:5-11).
These verses have been called the great parabola of Scripture, for they picture
the descent of the Lord Jesus Christ from the highest position in the universe
down to His death on the cross, and then they carry
the mind of the reader up again, to see Him seated once more on the throne
of His glory, before which every knee shall bow. "I will go up
up," said Satan. "You will be cast down to hell," God answered. "I
will go down to the cross," said Jesus. "You will be given a name that is
above every name," said God our heavenly Father.
This passage is among the most glorious sections of the New Testament. In
these few verses, we see the great sweep of Christs life from eternity
past to eternity future. And we are admitted to the breath-taking purposes
of God in mans salvation." 1
Recently we looked at these verses in light of our focus on living in the
joy of the Lord. We saw that Paul was focusing on people as joy stealers,
and how a focus on Christ prevents the loss of our joy.
Now I want to step aside from our general focus and reexamine these verses
in light of their great theological import. In these few verses, we are shown
the foundational truths of Christianity. These include the deity of Christ,
his incarnation and his glorification.
Verse 5: Paul starts this section by reminding his readers that Christ
is to be our model. And as we will see, the model here is one of servanthood
or an attitude of humility. As we saw last time, it is by following this
model that we will not lose our joy though the behavior of people.
The dictionary defines HUMILITY (Heb. anawah, Gr. tapeinophrosyne). Humility
and the related substantive and verb humble, translate several OT Hebrew
words and the NT Greek tapeinoo family. The meaning shades off in various
directions, but the central thought is freedom from pride--lowliness, meekness,
modesty, mildness. 2
Boice, James Montgomery, Philippians, Zondervan Publishing House,
Grand Rapids, MI, 1971, p. 125-126.
Douglas, J. D. and Merrill C. Tenney, editors, NIV Bible
Dictionary, Zondervan Interactive Publishing House, Grand Rapids,
MI, 1989, Electronic text hypertexted and prepared by OakTree Software, Inc.
Questions or Comments?