We have come now to one of the finest passages in scripture setting forth the redemptive ministry of Jesus Christ. It reflects an early hymn of the church that eloquently portrays the divine condescension of Christ in his incarnation and death as the example par excellence of selfless living. The best way to appreciate the passage is to read it in poetic form, reflecting on it fuller meaning.
“Your attitude toward others should be like that of Christ Jesus.
Although he was by nature God,
he didn’t regard that equality with God as something to be maintained at any cost,
but set it aside by becoming a human being, a servant.
So it was as one of us that he walked the lowly road of humility.
His obedience to God led him all the way to death, even death on a cross.
And that’s why God
raised him to the place of highest honor and
bestowed on him a name far above any other
So that someday
every knee in heaven and earth will bow before him and
every tongue will openly declare that
Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
“Translation from Dear Friends, This is Paul”
The history of the human race is, in a sense, reflected in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. As Christ, the eternal Son existed from the “beginning” in a close and glorious fellowship with the Father, so also did man begin his earthly pilgrimage in Eden, basking in the rich experience of fellowship with the Creator as they walked and talked in the Garden. In the incarnation Christ left heaven, came to earth and became one of us. Our transition, however, was not joyful but sad in that we were expelled from the Garden because of Adam’s (read “our”) sin. Christ paid the ransom on Calvary’s cross and made it possible for us to return to a new and living relationship with the Father. As Christ ascended to heaven so may we by faith return to where we began and enjoy forever the indescribably joy that God had always intended for his creation.
Interesting, is not, that this is also the general theme of most every novel: There is a problem that develops, a hero that comes onto the scene, and a solution to the problem that restores normalcy.