Why did God exalt Jesus? Because Jesus _______ (choose one).

WAS OBEDIENT          HUMBLED HIMSELF

I asked the above question in a recent Facebook poll and the responses were roughly 50/50. I confess that it is a tricky question.

In Philippians 2, the apostle Paul writes:

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. . . . 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 emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant. . . 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. . . . and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. . . .” (Phil 2:3-11 ESV, selected)

Obedience vs Humility

The truth is that for many of us, we can be obedient without being humble. We can appear moral or religious on the outside without surrendering our hearts and will to Jesus as Lord. However, it is impossible to be truly humble before God without also a sincere desire to serve Him in complete obedience.

When Jesus “humbled himself by becoming obedient,” the condition that led to His exaltation was not His outward obedience, but His inward humility. There is only one active verb in the original Greek, which is “humbled.” Becoming obedient is an adjective in the original text. In other words, obedience, in this case, is what humility looks like. For the Son of God, Creator of life and heaven and earth, becoming obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross—is the ultimate act of humility.

The answer then, to the question, “Why did God the Father exalt Jesus?” is because Jesus humbled Himself.

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12)

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted—Matthew 23:12 Click To Tweet

How about you? Is there an area or situation in your life where you find it difficult to be humble? If so, take some time to meditate on Philippians 2. What are one or two practical steps you will take this week to follow Jesus’s example of humble obedience?

This article is based on an excerpt from Week Two of HAGAR: Rediscovering the God Who Sees Me. Copyright © 2017 by Shadia Hrichi. Published by Leafwood Publishers.

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