Common and Uncommon

name-of-jesus

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality
with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form
of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found
in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to
the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly
exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who
are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue
will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5-9 NAS

As I begin reading Paul’s words in this portion of the second chapter of Philippians, I sense the development of a theme contrasting the common and uncommon, the natural and supernatural, the ordinary and extraordinary. Let me share with you what I am thinking.

Paul begins by portraying Jesus as the Son of God who also became the Son of Man when He left the supernatural realm of heaven to come down to the natural realm of earth. He set aside His spirit nature to take on human nature. To use Paul words in verse 7, “Jesus emptied Himself and came to earth in the likeness of mankind.” The uncommon became common. We celebrate this occurrence at Christmas when we honor the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary. This was when He became Son of God and Son of Man. Joseph was told by the angel to give Him the name of Jesus. At that time in history, Jesus was a common boy’s name. With the birth of Jesus, that name became a sacred name, an uncommon name. He was given an ordinary name that became extraordinary.

Going back to verse 6, Paul says that while the Son of God reigned with His Father in Heaven, He did not consider equality with God something to hold on to or take advantage of if His Father had other plans for Him. I am quoting the New American Standard Version of the Bible today because I like the image of the word “grasped” in this verse. While Jesus was born as a baby, I picture Him grasping, or holding on to, the finger of His mother Mary. When thinking of the transition for Jesus from heaven to earth, I picture Him letting go of the Hand of God and grasping the hand of Mary. This is a picture of the transition form the supernatural to the natural. It portrays the uncommon becoming common.

In verse 8, we see Jesus as a humble human being. While being Son of God and Son of Man, Jesus died a natural death by crucifixion to fulfill God’s supernatural requirements for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus died the ordinary death of a common criminal that resulted in an extraordinary, uncommon resurrection. I believe it took great humility on Jesus’ part for the uncommon to become common and the ordinary to be come extraordinary.

This leads us to verses 9-11 to conclude our scripture passage. With great humility, Jesus let go of His place in heaven and came to earth to die for all mankind. This was not a common occurrence – it was uncommon! Because of what Jesus did, His Heavenly Father has now placed the common name of Jesus above all names. Today, His name is an uncommon, sacred name. Now it is our turn to humble ourselves and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I seems appropriate to conclude with the words of the praise song Jesus, Name Above All Names by Bill Batstone. Sing it along with me if you wish.

“Jesus, Name Above All Names”

Jesus, name above all names
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord.
Emmanuel, God is with us.
Blessed Redeemer, Living word.

Jesus, name above all names
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord.
Emmanuel, God is with us.
Blessed Redeemer, Living word.

Emmanuel, God is with us.
Blessed Redeemer, Living word.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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