The church has always confessed Jesus to be fully God and fully man. What an awesome reality to try to comprehend. I have difficulty wrapping my mind around what it means that Jesus “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). Jesus was not created. He has no beginning and he has no end. “From everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2).
Jesus humbled himself, emptying himself of the heavenly glory that he embodied and received, in order to become a man. Why would he do this? The only answer is; there was a glory to be revealed and for Jesus to receive by being born a man. By being born in the likeness of men, he did not lose the glory he had in heaven, he fulfilled that glory by accomplishing the work that the Father gave him to do (John 17:1-5).
And what was that work? The apostle Paul continues in Philippians 2:8-11, “being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so 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.”
Because Jesus accomplished the work that the Father gave him to do – dying on a cross – his name has now been revealed to be the name above all names. “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).
The cross was the revelation of the Son of God to all creation, that everyone might know, believe, and glory in the name above all names. The mystery is no longer hidden (Colossians 2:2). For in the cross, Jesus has been revealed, his victory has been proclaimed, and now people from all nations praise his name.
Philippians 2:10-11 ensures that all creation will one day bow the knee and confess that Jesus is Lord. This will be the great and terrible day of the Lord. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord either by faith and joyful praise now, or by force and in terror in the day to come. I plead with you friends, please call upon the name of Jesus while there is still time.
The cross revealed the name above all names. This was the highest purpose of the cross, but it was not its only purpose. Romans 5:6-8 says, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die, but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The cross not only declared the name above all names, it also demonstrated God’s love for sinners. It was the greatest display of love in all of history because Jesus died for the ungodly. He did not die for righteous people. This means that the objects of his love are unworthy of it.
Even still, Jesus was satisfied to bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53:11). The Bible is explicitly clear: all who call upon Jesus, trusting in him as their only Savior and surrendering their life to him as their only Lord will be saved from hell, forgiven of sin, and made God’s children as opposed to his enemies.
If the highest purpose of the cross is to glorify the name of Jesus above all other names, then the demonstration of God’s love for sinners in the cross is the primary means of securing that glory. What an amazing God we have! Of all the ways he could determine to get glory, the Father was pleased to get his glory by the Son dying in the place of sinners.
God could have gotten his glory through judgment. Jesus could have come wielding a sword instead of bearing a cross. But his plan was to get his glory through the death of his Son; pouring out his love on sinners as he poured out his wrath on the Son.
“Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief.” (Isaiah 53:10)
God is so good and kind that both his eternal glory and our eternal good have both been satisfied by the cross. Jesus, the name above all names, stands now as both our Lord and our Savior; welcoming the ungodly and sinners of all stripes to rest in his glory and grace.
As we take time to remember Jesus and the cross, examine your heart. Have you called upon the name of Jesus? Have you received by faith all that he accomplished for his name’s sake and for your eternal good? Are you rejecting his love for you by holding tightly to your independence and sin?
Remember the cross, friends. Remember his love for you and glory in his name.