And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him 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 acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Humility Comes Before Glory
In the life of Jesus, humility came before glory. This is especially evident when we see what happened before and after he died. A few days before his death, he voluntarily rode into Jerusalem knowing full well what would happen to him there.
He did not stop Judas from betraying him, his disciples from abandoning him, and his enemies from putting him on trial. “He was obedient to death” (2:8). So he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He did it all for the disciples who abandoned him, the soldiers who beat him, and sinners like you and me.
And because he humbled himself in that way, “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name” (2:9). If you exalt something, it means you lift it up. God lifted Jesus way up. First, God lifted Jesus up from the dead. Forty days later, he exalted Jesus to his right hand when Christ ascended into heaven.
The message is clear: Jesus Christ is Lord. And on the Last Day everyone will confess that truth. That glory will come for Jesus, but humility came first.
Our lives will be the same. Being a Christian doesn’t stop heartache, sickness, or sadness. It doesn’t give you lots of money. You might not be any healthier or richer than someone else, who couldn’t care less about Jesus. But not even the Son of God himself had an easy life when he became a man. In the life of the Christian, humility also comes before glory.
But there is glory for the Christian! The glory is heaven, eternal perfection, and your own resurrection. For now, Jesus has you right where he wants you—in the nail-scared palm of his hand.
Lord Jesus, let the promised glory you won for me sustain me through difficult times. Amen.