It is the greatest “rabbit trail” in all of Scripture. Paul’s going in one direction when, led by the Spirit of God–the Promoter of Christ, he heads down another. One moment he’s exhorting the Philippians to be like-minded, the next He’s extolling the mind of Christ. And his illustrative tangent is enough to make you stand up and shout the hallelujah chorus. For, as William MacDonald so aptly put it, it’s a glorious reminder that the way up is down.
Many have pointed out in various ways the Son’s steps of humiliation and the Father’s corresponding steps of exaltation. It looks something like this:
Jesus didn’t demand the glory due Him though fully God–instead He emptied Himself
…More than that, He took the form of servant
…..More than that, He consented to be born in human likeness
…….More than that, He committed to present Himself in the form of a man
……..More than that, He humbled Himself
………..More than that, He became obedient to death
………….More than that, it was the death of a shameful cross
………….Therefore, God the Almighty has responded
………..By exalting Him above all heights
………By bestowing on Him a name like no other name
…….By ordaining that at the Name the knee should bow
…..By determining that it would be every knee in all places
…By presenting Him such that every tongue is compelled to confess that Jesus is Lord
To the glory of God
Thus the way up is down.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Php. 2:5).
But before I rush to heed the exhortation to “let this mind be in you”, I must pause to enter into the exploration of wandering down this glorious rabbit trail. I must avoid rushing to application and instead engage in wondrous meditation fueled by Paul’s tangent. I must consider afresh the Son of God who willingly became the Lamb of God that I might be made in Him a child of God.
What was it for the King of glory to become our atoning sacrifice? For the Source of all creation to endure the suffering of the cross? For the Author of Life to experience the reality of death?
Yet for the joy set before Him He endured the cross and despised the shame (Heb. 12:2).
For though He was laid in the earth, yet on the third day He rose from the dead. His humiliation gave way to exaltation. And He is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Ever to reign. Ever to intercede. Ever to be bowed before and worshiped.
Therefore, have this mind among yourselves.
More here that is felt than tell’t.
Might we know, really know, that the way up is down. Might we praise the Name above all Names. Might we follow, by His enabling, in the way of this glorious rabbit trail.
Because of His abundant grace. All for His everlasting glory.