Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient unto death—even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your eyes, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. Amen.
We are coming to the end of this Lenten season, this season of repentance and dedication to God, preparing for the great celebration of Christ’s glorious death and resurrection, our salvation.
Today, just a week before the Great Thanksgiving, it is Palm Sunday. When we remember the triumphant entry. Jesus riding into Jerusalem as its true King and Messiah. Now I’m not sure how many of you have seen Disney’s Aladdin, but Jesus’s procession was not something so grand. He came not on an elephant, not even on a strong, regal horse, but a colt, the foal of a donkey. He came to bring peace, not violence; He came humbly into Jerusalem.
He knew what was coming, He knew what these people would do, these who were rejoicing and proclaiming Him the prophesied Son of David, saviour of Israel. Hosanna, in the Highest! God save us! Later that week they would call for Barabbas to be saved instead and demand with the Pharisees Christ’s crucifixion. It appears they would’ve preferred a warrior king, rather than the servant king God gave them. Jesus did not become this warrior to overthrow the Romans for the Jews, instead He humbly accepted the work God had prepared for Him, even to His death on the cross.
It’s clear to everyone who hears the story, Jesus was a humble man. He even says He doesn’t want to die, then ‘not my will but yours be done’ (Luke 22:42). And last week we heard Jesus say, ‘Father glorify your name!’ (John 12:28). We see that He gives all glory to God the Father, not taking any for Himself. Jesus was humble, disciplined and obedient, even going into death by crucifixion willingly. Can you imagine doing that?
Can you imagine, giving up your desires and pursuing a far greater goal, which will bring you only suffering in this life? Can you imagine obeying so much that you do not run when faced with death? There are many places in this world, where people are faced regularly with death. Do they give up their home and leave? Do they reject their responsibility to their family to save themself? Do they renounce their faith and obedience to God to save their life here on this earth?
Paul here is calling the Philippians to repentance, to turn toward God alone, to have the same mindset as Christ, who humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. God is calling you to this life of humility, to follow Jesus as our great example in this life. He lived in our world, He was tempted just as we are, yet did not sin. That is obedience, and humility to the end.
And this in particular to your interactions with each other, ‘In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.’ (verse 5). Now from what I have seen humility may be one of the strengths of this congregation, to be able to listen well to each other, to include each other, to treat each other as more important than ourselves; to not be too proud to speak, and to not be scared of correcting for the benefit of the other. We can read and think on all Christ’s interactions with people, He sought to heal, to comfort, to correct and to train all for the benefit of those He met, and also for us. Christ’s humility is not timid or quiet, it is not fear or cowardice, but rather it serves those around Him. He obeyed God for your benefit. He humbled Himself by obeying His Father’s commands, His Word, and not obeying Jesus’ own desires. Again, He didn’t seek after fleeting pleasures, but rather sought after the lasting pleasure of everlasting life for all. He was humble because He did His Father’s will, not His own, though He was tempted.
We fail in living this humble life time and again, we fail to obey Our Heavenly Father’s will and instead follow our own evil desires. That is our sin, that is what kills us, what brings us death. However, Jesus lived a life without sin, He completely obeyed God the Father and always did what is right. He tells us through Paul that ‘Christ did not please Himself’ but pleased others for their good, to build them up (Romans 15:2-3). That it was for our sake that He became poor, that by His poverty we might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). That just as through one man’s sin condemnation was brought to all in Adam, through one man’s obedience many will be made righteous (Romans 5:18-19).
Jesus lived the perfect life of humility and obedience, that every one of you is called to. He lived not for Himself, but for you and to bring salvation to all. Not only did He live, but also died as The unblemished lamb for you and as we are joined with His life, death and resurrection by the Holy Spirit through baptism and Holy Communion, all our wickedness is given to Jesus and His righteousness is graciously given to us. Jesus Christ, our humble and obedient King has saved us. Hosanna in the Highest!
The grace of God which passes all our human understanding guard your hearts in Christ Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith. Amen.