To understand the meaning and importance of this verse, we need to read the surrounding portion.  Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

This portion begins by instructing us to have the same mind as the Lord Jesus has.  We then get a wonderful explanation of the mind of the Lord Jesus. 

‘WHO BEING IN THE FORM OF GOD, THOUGHT IT NOT ROBBERY TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD.”  In His existence, His essential being, before His incarnation, the Lord Jesus existed in the form of God and in His claim of equality with God, He was not taking a thing that did not truly belong to Him.  Jesus IS God.

What we have next is the great humility of the Lord Jesus shown in His actions:

  • “BUT MADE HIMSELF OF NO REPUTATION.”  Literally, He ‘emptied Himself.’  He emptied Himself of His form of God.
  • “TOOK UPON HIM THE FORM OF A SERVANT.”  The King of Kings and Lord of Lords took on the form of a servant.  Angels are servants, but the Lord’s humility took Him ever lower than the angels.  We read in Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, WHO WAS MADE A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
  • “WAS MADE IN THE LIKENESS OF MEN.”  Yes, the Lord humbled himself and not only took upon the form of a servant but became a man.  Although His appearance was like that of any other man, He was sent “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3).  Although He looked like an ordinary man, Christ had no sin in Him. (Read 1 John 3:5). 
  • “BEING FOUND IN FASHION AS A MAN, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF.”  Even though He had humbled Himself greatly in becoming a servant and a man, the Lord humbled Himself even further. 
  • “BECAME OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH.”  Romans 5:19 tells us, “For as by one man’s DISOBEDIENCE many were made sinners, so by the OBEDIENCE of one shall many be made righteous.”  Christ obeyed His Father’s will and died.  We read the words of the Lord in John 10:17-18, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”  The Lord Jesus received the commandment from His Father, and He obeyed it.
  • “EVEN THE DEATH OF THE CROSS.”  It was not a simple and easy death the Lord endured, it was death upon the cross…a cruel and humiliating death, where those around Him hated and mocked Him.  However, the true depth of the Lord’s suffering on the cross, came from God Himself when He poured out His wrath on His Son for the sins of mankind.  We read prophetically of the Lord in Lamentations 1:12, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.”  How greatly the Lord suffered at the hands of a sin-hating God for sinners like you and me.

After several verses about the HUMILITY of the Lord Jesus, we are then drawn to consider His EXALTATION.  We read in Philippians 2:9-11, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 

Because of His continued humility and obedience, God has exalted His Son and given Him a name that is greater than any other name that has ever existed.  We read of the Lord Jesus in Hebrews 1:3-4, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained A MORE EXCELLENT NAME than they.” He who humbled Himself and become lower than the angels is now “much better than the angels.”  It was the exclusive work of the Lord Jesus who “by Himself purged our sins” by the giving of Himself on the cross of Calvary.  With His redemptive work completed, the Lord sat down on the right hand of God.

His name (and person) is so exalted that even at the mention of the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, and every tongue should confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  His is the highest name, and we should bow to that name, owning Him as both savior and Lord.  Dear reader, have you bowed your knee to the Lord?  Have you accepted His loving offer of salvation?  Romans 10:9 proclaims to all, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED.”  (481.4)