Summary: This sermon reflects on Jesus’ attitude in entering into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday - how it changes our attitude.
March 19, 2005 Philippians 2:5-11
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became 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 confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NIV)
Have you ever told your child, or been told yourself to get an attitude change? How do you change your attitude? I mean, you can change our clothes in a few seconds. You can change a lightbulb in a minute. You can change the oil in our car in a half an hour or so. But how do you change an attitude? If you tell your teenage son or daughter, “you better change your attitude,” does that really help any? No. Something more has to happen. Something has to motivate you to change that attitude. If you have a bad attitude, something has to happen to make you want to change that attitude. It doesn’t just happen.
Today, Paul tells us to have an attitude. He says, “your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.” Now, we can’t just say - “ok, I’ll have his attitude.” Paul knew this. Instead, he leads us to it by showing us what Jesus’ attitude was.
Get A Jesus Attitude
I. Jesus cared for us first
First of all, we’ll want to find out what Jesus’ attitude was. In order to do that, we will have to put ourselves in Jesus’ shoes. Today’s text said that he was in very nature God, and that he was equal with God. That translates into meaning that Jesus had all of the power in the world. He could have established a great kingdom on earth. He could have had legions of angels available at his beckon call. But what did Jesus do? Jesus did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Another way of translating this would be, “he did not consider equality with God as a prize to be displayed.” In ancient days, when a king would win a victory over a neighboring enemy, he would return to town with all of the booty that they had stolen from that town. He would put it on display in an arrogant manner - showing the people what a glorious victory he had achieved. Jesus did not do that with His power. He didn’t display it in an arrogant manner. He could have appeared as a powerful ruler, but instead, he just acted like your run of the mill ordinary man.
This is clearly seen in the way that Jesus entered into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He could have ridden in on the wings of angels. He could have come in a thunderstorm with the fire of the Lord behind him- or on a war horse. But instead, Jesus rode in on a donkey - no light show - nothing special. And then, instead of establishing a great kingdom, Jesus died on a cross.
The question is, “why?” Why didn’t Jesus use His power? Why did Jesus have the attitude that said, “I’m not going to flex My muscles?” The chief priests and elders even said they would believe in Him if He came down from the cross. They kept taunting him - they couldn’t understand - if He is who He says He is, why doesn’t he come down? They figured that if He really had the power to come down, He would have. So why didn’t He?
Paul gives us the reason in 2 Corinthians 8:9. Here he says, you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (NIV) It was only God’s grace - Jesus’ undeserved love for us sinners - which wanted to see us become rich - that made Him give up everything He had for us. Jesus became poor - he didn’t use His power and went to the cross, because He wanted to see us inherit heaven. Jesus’ attitude was - “I don’t care how much I have to give up for myself - I’m even willing to die on a cross so my created people will go to heaven.” The attitude of Jesus was a deep concern - not for Himself - but for mankind.