Summary: This message answers this question asked by the crowd on Palm Sunday: Who is this guy? We will see some important answers about who Jesus was, who he became, and who he is.
WHO IS THIS GUY?
Today is Palm Sunday, named in honor of the day Jesus entered Jerusalem amidst a noisy crowd, hailing him with palm branches. It marks the beginning of the last week before his death. Let’s review the scene, as I read Matthew 21:1-11.
Did you notice the end? The whole city is stirred up, and they ask, “Who is this guy?”
That’s a pretty good question. In fact, I don’t think there is a better question, a more important question for you to answer. Especially this week…
Our text today answers this question. In our text today we will see some important answers about who Jesus was, who he became, and who he is. Turn with me to Philippians 2, beginning in verse five. As I read Philippians 2:5-6, notice what this text says about who Jesus was.
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. Philippians 2:5-6
These first two verses say some very important things about who Jesus was.
A. He existed before his birth
The first thing to take note of is that the subject of these verses is Jesus Christ. And these verses are talking about Jesus’ existence before he was born. That little word ‘being’ in verse 6 means ‘existing.’
Unlike you and me, he existed before he was born. Unlike us, his birth was not his beginning. This is not talking about reincarnation or some ‘previous life.’ This is stating something significant about Christ as a person – that his existence pre-dates his birth.
B. He existed as God
The nature of this existence was that of deity. He existed in the very nature, the text says, as God. This phrase literally means “in the form of God.” And it refers to the outer manifestation of his inner nature. His essence, his nature, is that of God.
The NLT says it plainly: “Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God…”
Phil 2:5-6 NLT
The end of verse 6 mentions something else: equality with God. Now our text will describe some important things about Jesus’ reaction to his equality with God, but here it is enough to say that he possessed equality with God – he was equal with, equal to God. This is a description of deity.
Notice how else Paul says this:
Note how else Paul describes it (Colossians 1:15-20)…
15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
The nature of Jesus continues to be debated.
Have you ever noticed how Jesus is constantly on the cover of magazines such as Newsweek and Time, especially at this time of year? In those articles Jesus is always considered to be one of the great religious leaders of all time. He is placed right alongside Buddha, Confucius, Moses, and Mohammed as one of the greats.
But this is not where Paul places Him.
Paul states that Jesus, by His very nature, is God.
The first part of the answer to our question, “Who is this guy?” is:
I. Jesus was God
Not only did Jesus exist before he was born, but he has always existed in the very form of God – his nature is the nature of God. He was already God.
Transition: What else does Paul tell us in answer to the question, “Who is this guy?” After making the point that Jesus was God, Paul says something very alarming at the end of verse 6. Did you catch it? Let’s read it again:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped Phil. 2:6
A. Jesus didn’t cling to his equality with God
Although he was equal with God, had equality with God, he did not consider it something to be grasped. That means “to hang on to.” Although he was God, he resolved not to cling to it. Think about this for a moment.
In our time past, He was the Co-creator with the Father and Holy Spirit.