the Bible – God’s guide for life #8 Looking to Jesus #1 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus

Looking To Jesus: “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”

 

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.           (Philippians 2:5-8)

Christ_enters_Jerusalem_on_an_ass._Etching_by_F.P._Massau
Christ, the meek one, entering Jerusalem as a king on an ass. Etching by F.P. Massau after J.F. Overbeck, 1849.

The apostle Paul describes here the characteristics of Jesus Christ that led to God “highly exalting him” (verse 6), humility and obedience. Now, this does not mean he was inadequate and weak as some might regard a humble person. In fact the opposite is true: Jesus was meek but by no means mild! Here was someone who stood up to the religious authorities, who cleared the Temple courts of a crowd of people because they violated the sanctity of the place and who faced danger and eventually death because he was prepared to do what was right, despite the cost to himself.

It was his determination to follow God that empowered him to undertake an extraordinary and dangerous role. We do not have the role that Jesus had, but Paul is encouraging us to share his attitudes, and develop a character modelled on his.

Jesus took “the form of a bondservant” and service was the hallmark of his ministry. He was obedient to his Father and looked to meet the needs of others. The washing of his disciples’ feet is probably the best example of this. What he said about it is telling:

Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than him who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.                                            (John 13: 12-17)

This is ‘the mind’’ we need to have in us. Not to think of ourselves as above serving others, but actively to seek opportunities to do so. Jesus had every reason to see himself as someone who should be served, not attend to the needs of others – he was the Son of God! Yet he was ready to get down on his knees and wash dust from the feet of those who travelled with him.

From what he says this is not just a story for us to wonder at Jesus’ grace and humility, it is something for us imitate, to do something about. We too are to be servants. Perhaps we no longer wash the feet of travellers, as was the custom in the Middle East, but there are many ways for us to serve. Such service should be a loving response to God, not grudgingly or from a sense of guilt, fear or being put on. Do we regard ourselves as having more rights than Jesus, or as deserving more than our Lord and Teacher? Of course not! So let us develop a character like his of obedience to God and humility, in serving others.

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Preceding articles:

the Bible – God’s guide for life #1 Introduction

the Bible – God’s guide for life #2 Needs in life

the Bible – God’s guide for life #3 Fast food or staple diet

the Bible – God’s guide for life #4 Not to get the best from our diet– or from ourselves

the Bible – God’s guide for life #5 What is God like

the Bible – God’s guide for life #6 Case example – King Josiah #1

the Bible – God’s guide for life #7 Case example – King Josiah #2 Lessons from Josiah’s experience

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Additional reading

  1. Humility and the Fear of the Lord
  2. The meek one riding on an ass

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