5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Anytime I do a text study and begin to meditate on the text I’ve picked for the week, I always ask myself a few questions. 1.) How does this text convict me, or, what’s God’s law here? 2.) Where’s the good news of the text, or like we call it, the Gospel? 3.) How does it apply to us as a flock of believers living and witnessing in the 910? Well I gotta be honest, the first question was sort of a no brainer on this one. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” K. But thankfully, this is the same Christ who humbled himself even to the point of a death on a cross. Because of all the times when our attitudes did NOT, in fact, match his own. And Palm Sunday is a keen reminder that our Lord was at the gate, preparing to empty himself fully in death as a gift for all mankind. That’s good news. And it’s the good news we’re called upon to share.
I. You’re attitude should be the same… I’m gonna stop ya right there, Paul. Every single one of our lives has been completely disrupted by this wicked virus. I watch kids bickering at home cuz they can’t go out. I hear of millions who are losing work and beginning the long red tape process of filing for unemployment. I hear others wringing their hands cuz they’re wondering about the economy as a whole. Will we ever come back? Is school and my friends really possibly a whole year away??? Will this quarantine drive me insane? WILL I GET SICK BECAUSE I STILL HAVE TO GO TO WORK WITH OTHERS??? Christ’s attitude in suffering was silence. As a Lamb. He entrusted his life…and his soul…to his Father. That is a remarkable attitude to have. And boy oh boy do we often lack the attitude of Jesus, no? Our knee jerk isn’t silence but crying out in fear.
II. Being the very form of God. We may have a million and one problems in our everyday lives at the moment. But brothers and sisters, our salvation — our eternal life in Christ — is simply NOT one of them. Why? Cuz unlike us running out to the store to forage for food and home goods, our salvation don’t rely on us lifting even a finger. Man — sinful man — cannot do a thing. God himself would affect our salvation and Jesus Christ is just that: Immanuel. God. The very form of God. Who would begin the task of saving you and I from a bigger problem than sickness and finances: the problem of our sin. And then this very God would empty himself in a remarkable act of humility to march into Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday to die a terrible death. This, by the way, is the foolishness that Paul talks about in regards to the Greek or the Gentiles. That God would wanna take on human flesh was unthinkable and stupid to them. It drives many Islamists crazy as well. Why would God humble himself to having to be carried and nursed by a woman ultimately to hang his head in death on a cross in the same woman’s brokenhearted presence??? It’s unthinkable.
III. Yet it’s awesome. Because he would do it for us. He would hang his head in death for all mankind as the world’s atonement for sin. And then God would exalt him by raising him from the grave fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy: Death has been swallowed up in victory. And now the name of Jesus is in fact, the “sweetest” name, as our sister Pauline likes to say. It is the saving name we lean on and the same one we have the privilege to share through word and deed. Because of his redeeming work culminating in Holy Week, our attitudes CAN be like his. Humble, quiet, patient.