Summary: To show the absolute authority and Lordship of Christ which will some day be acknowledged by the whole of humanity
One of the most beautiful passages in the whole of the Bible is Philippians 2:5-8 that talks about how Christ left heaven, how he left a throne and came down to earth, to be spat upon, beaten, killed, treated as dirt, cursed and to have his name used as a swear word. Verses full of meaning and beauty, telling us so much of his nature. But we are going to look this afternoon at the next part, verses 9-11.. It tells us what happened as a result of his descent to earth.
God hath highly exalted him
Christ brought himself down to earth. He came down on his own decision, he did not try to hang on to the equality with God that was his by right, he gave up his glory to be ill-treated. It was God who lifted him up. Highly exalted him means just that - lifted him up above everything else. The glory that was his by right and which he chose to give-up was given back to him, in double measure. He is now back on his heavenly throne, in glory, in majesty, in splendour. Nothing on this earth can match his glory and majesty. It is all his, because it was given to him by God, who alone can give it.
Unlike the passing fame and glory that people on earth can have, famous, feted and the centre of attention one minute, a complete unknown the next, the fame and glory of Jesus is eternal. In heaven he will always be the centre of attention, even in a billion years time the centrepoint of heaven will be Christ. The angels will never tyre of seeing his wounds on his hands, feet and side where he was crucified. The people saved from their sins by his coming to earth and his death will always, always, for ever and ever adore him and never get bored.
He brought himself down to earth in great humility. He will return, but not in humility, but in power and glory.
A name that is higher than any other name
The name Jesus – Yeshua in Hebrew, I]hsouj in Greek means saviour. In Matthew 1:21 Mary is told to give him this name because he would save his people from their sins.
Every knee shall bow before him
Things over the earth – angels
Things on the earth – humans alive when he comes again
Things under the earth – those who died before he returned
All the great people of history – Tutankhamen, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, William the conqueror. All the famous people of today, footballers, pop stars, Tony Blair. All the celebrities of the future. All the ordinary people of history, peasants whose name is completely unknown, us, our children and our grandchildren, will all bow down to him and acknowledge who he is on that day when he returns.
That Jesus Christ is Lord
Probably the earliest Christian creed was the very simple formula ’Jesus is Lord’. That is why the Roman Emperor in order to root out Christians, insisted that everyone sacrifice to him and say the words "Caesar is Lord’ - he knew that no Christian would be able to say that anyone other than Jesus was Lord. They paid a heavy price for this devotion to the lordship of Christ, many were killed, imprisoned, lost all their possessions and standing in society, all over three words "Jesus is Lord"
We have sung these three words throughout this meeting. Many of our songs are about it; people wear T-shirts that say it. We have become used to hearing it. Sometimes we say or sing it without thinking and miss what a revolutionary statement it is. Why all the fuss about such a simple sentence? Why did these early Christians risk so much over it? Surely they could have compromised a little bit, said "Caesar is Lord", maybe with their fingers crossed, when required to do so by the authorities, and then, when they were with other Christians, said "Jesus is Lord". But it mattered to them, and it should matter to us. In English it is three words, in Greek it is just two - Iesous Kyrios. Let’s remind ourselves of why these two words are so important.
Kyrios, the second word in the Greek statement had a range of meanings, sometimes it meant something like ’Sir’., just a way of being polite to a man that you did not know very well. But that was only if you were directly talking to somebody, not talking about somebody else. In these cases it would have a much bigger meaning than just ’sir’.
In the Greek translation of the Old Testament used in the time of Jesus and the first Christians it was used for name of God, the sacred name that was spelt with four Hebrew letters, equivalent to our YHWH and which was regarded as being to holy to be actually said. When people were reading out loud from the scriptures and came to this name of God instead of saying it, they would actually say Adonai, another name and title of God. It was therefore a pretty big claim to make, to say that Jesus was kyrios. A dictionary in which I looked up kyrios defined it as ’supreme in authority, controller’