Summary: Philippians 2:5-11 has been called the greatest text on Christ ever written. Most preachers preach this text doctrinally. But Paul meant us to understand in terms of our personal relationships. See how Jesus’ example helps us get along with others.
HOW DID JESUS CHRIST EXHIBIT HUMILITY?
1. Jesus Christ exhibited humility in His thinking.
"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..." - Philippians 2:5-6 (NKJV)
Paul says, "let this mind be in you..." What mind is Paul talking about?
The mind Paul is referring to is the mind he has just been describing in verses 3 and 4 of chapter 2. Paul described it as "lowliness of mind".
Even though there is a break in our Bibles at this point, Paul’s thought is actually not broken and he is continuing his previous thought from verses 3 and 4 about this thing called a lowly mind when he says, "Let this mind be in you."
And the outflow of a lowly mind is that this mind values other people to be better than itself.
Paul is describing how Jesus is a humble thinker.
Lit., let this be thought in you. The correct reading, however, is öñïíåῖôå, lit., "think this in yourselves." Rev., have this mind in you.
—Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament
Paul gives us examples of how Jesus thought in humble ways.
A. Jesus thought about what was good for "the many" instead of what was good for Him.
This is how humble thinkers think. They think about "the many" and not just themselves.
Humble thinkers realize that "the entire world is made of other people with one tiny exception."
When Jesus thought about what the many needed He decided that it would be better for them if He gave up His throne and did not try to protect his power and privilege at all costs.
• When a mother decides not to buy herself that new dress because she needs to pay her families’ utility bill, that’s thinking of the many over the one.
• When a father works two jobs so he can put food on the table that’s thinking of the many instead of the one.
• When an officer pulls over a drunk driver because he or she is dangerous to the public, that’s thinking of the many.
George Washington Carver had always dreamed of getting an education. There was one thing standing in his way. He was born black in a country and at a time when whites oppressed black people.
When George Carver reached the age of twenty he was ready to start college. He submitted an application to Highland College and was accepted. However, when George showed up he was turned away once school officals realized he was black.
A few years later he tried again, and this time was accepted to Simpson College.
By all accounts, George excelled in the arts. He was a first rate painter, muscian and poet. One of his works of art even won him first prize at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893.
Later he transferred to Iowa State and changed his major from art to agriculture.
Why would he do such a thing when he loved art so much?
James Wilson, formerly the dean of Agriculture at Iowa State, recalled the reason in this statement addressed to George:
"I remember when I first met you, you said you wanted to get an agricultural education so you could help your race. I had never known anything more beautful than that said by a student. I know the taste you have for painting and the success you have made along that line, and I said, ’Why not push your studies along that line to some extent?’ When you replied that that would be of no value to yoru colored brethren, that also was magnificent."
George Washington Carver went on to receive his degree in agriculture from Iowa State. He stayed on and earned his master’s degree and became the first African American faculty member at Iowa State College.
In April of 1896, Carver recieved an unusual offer from Dr. Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute.
Dr. Washington wanted Carver to take a teaching position there and become the school’s director of Agriculture?
Washington said, "I cannot offer you money, position, or fame. The first two you have. The last from the position you now occupy you will no doubt achieve. These things I now ask you to give up. I offer you in their place: work...hard, hard work, the task of bringing a people from degradation, poverty and waste to full manhood. Your department exists only on paper and your laboratory will have to be in your head."
Carver could have lived a comfortable life in Iowa. But he gave it up to move to Alabama where he knew he would be treated like a second-class citizen to help serve a greater good, the good of the many.