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Thu, Feb 23, 2006

44 - Humility in Christ [b]

Hebrews 5:5-6 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:53 mins 49 secs

 

Hebrews Lesson 44  February 23, 2006 

 

NKJ Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

Hebrews 5

 

Hebrews 5 focuses on the superiority of Jesus Christ's priesthood. It just gets going and all of a sudden the writer interrupts himself and in the sixth chapter goes into the next major warning. The first four verses which we have studied already focus on the fact that in the Aaronic priesthood the priesthood that characterized Israel under the Mosaic Law that a priest was appointed not by man or self appointment. In fact we looked the last two weeks at the situations where there were those within Israel who tried to put themselves forward to be priests. They tried to set themselves up in competition with Aaron. First of all we had his two sons Nadab and Abihu who tried to bring strange fire and incense into the tent of meeting and God killed them. Leviticus 10. 

 

Then in Numbers we saw that there was the Nathan and Abiram and Korah rebellion against the Aaronic priesthood. So it is clear from the Old Testament that God appointed Aaron. He wasn't going to allow any kind of competition. One of the things that God is showing in that is that there is only one way to God. The theme keeps coming along throughout Scripture that God defines how the creature can come into His presence. It is not up to the creature to decide how he is going to come before God; it is how God defines the situation. There is only one priesthood, one legitimate priesthood, under the Mosaic Covenant. That was the Aaronic priesthood. The high priest under the Mosaic Code was a human being also guilty of sin so he had to bring sacrifices for himself before he could offer sacrifices for the nation. The writer of Hebrews makes the point in the first four verses that He was one therefore who because He was fully human could understand and have compassion on those who came to bring sacrifices. He wasn't to judge them but He could have compassion on those who had committed various sins. His ultimate responsibility was to represent man to God in the Levitical offerings. The conclusion he says is that no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God. In other words the function of the high priest was not a human ordained institution. God is the one who selected and defined who the priest would be. 

 

Then we come to verse 5. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 5:5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You."

 

The word there "also" indicates a comparison with the Aaronic priesthood. This is indicated by the first word that appears in the Greek houto which indicates a general reference to the previous discussion. In this same way as the human priesthood of Aaron so there were certain aspects of the Aaron priesthood that would be carried over into the priesthood of Lord Jesus Christ. In that way we see that the Aaronic priesthood functioned as a type of Christ, a shadow image of the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ. So we can say that in the same was as the human priesthood of Aaron was appointed by God so also Christ's priesthood is the result of a divine appointment. 

 

Now the main verb in this first clause is to glorify. 

 

This is the word doxazo. The noun is doxa which means to glorify and is where is we get our English word doxology. That is what a lot of Christians sing on Sunday morning praising God's glory, "Holy, Holy, Holy".

 

What is interesting here when you pay attention to the Greek tense, it is an aorist tense meaning it is a completed action in the past. As a constative aorist (The basic aorist looks at the action in its entirety and simply summarizes it without reference to its beginning, its progress, its end or its duration.), it is a simple past tense that looks back into the past summarizes the action. This is something that happened in the past.  Christ did not glorify Himself as opposed to other human priesthoods that are based on self-glorification. There is a clear implication here in contrast with was happening in the high priesthood in Israel at this time because this time near the end of the Jewish state when they are so severely under the thumb of Roman authority so that the high priest was not even appointed according to any kind of Mosaic regulation. They were appointed by political appointment and the approval of Rome. The whole institution of the temple was being run by Roman authority. Here we have the contrast that Christ in contrast to self-glorification of human priests and in contrast to this other did not glorify Himself to become the high priest.

 

Then we get an interesting word. That word to become is the aorist passive infinitive of purpose of ginomai which means to experience a change in one's nature or to become something that you weren't before. Something comes into existence. This shows that Jesus Christ though He is the eternal Son which is the emphasis in the quote from Psalm 2:7. 

 

NKJ Psalm 2:7 "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.

 

The emphasis there is on the eternal sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ. So He is eternally a Son, but He becomes a high priest. He is not eternally a high priest. That is a role and responsibility that He took on with His choice to become the Savior and Messiah. So the emphasis in this verse is on the fact that Christ was not involved in self glorification or self promotion in becoming High Priest in taking on this role to be the Savior and to offer Himself as a sacrifice for mankind because that is one of the primary roles of the high priest - to offer sacrifices for man. So the verb there, the infinitive of purpose, completes the thought that is expressed in the verb. He didn't glorify Himself for the purpose of becoming High Priest.

 

Literal translation:  So also Christ did not exalt His status for the purpose of becoming High Priest.

 

This is in contrast to those who are putting themselves forward even Lucifer who sought to be God.  Even Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden who were tempted by the lure of the fruit that if you eat of the fruit you will become like God. Jesus Christ in contrast to that isn't exalting Himself for His own purposes. As soon as we look at the verb, the connection between the main verb of glorification, the completion of that glorification, and becoming something, the first thing that hit me is that it takes us right back to a basic understanding of the incarnation of Christ and God's pre-existing plan in relation to salvation. 

 

So we have to go to Philippians 2. So turn with me to Philippians 2.

 

NKJ Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

 

This is one or two of three key passages for understanding the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

We go to Philippians 2:5-11 and in that section we have one of the most sophisticated explanations in all of Scripture on the relationship between the deity and the humanity of Christ – the doctrine of the hypostatic union. When we come there I like to point out that this is not some sort of theological discussion that hangs out there as an abstract discussion on Christology or the hypostatic union. There is a purpose to this. 

 

I was involved in a discussion this afternoon with someone. We were talking about the fact that when you look at Scripture and the Bible, the Bible doesn't view theology or doctrine as something that sort of exists in an abstract academic sense. This is a perversion I think that has occurred over time in church history. They have separated the study of theology. It becomes a very sophisticated academic intellectual exercise much like philosophy or some other intellectual discipline. The terms theology and doctrine are attached to that. So you go to a seminary bookstore somewhere and you buy a book on basic doctrines. You read it and people come away saying, "How does that make any difference in the way I think or the way I live?" 

 

It becomes somehow divorced or separated from day to day thought in life. That is a perversion of the Scripture because as a seminary professor of mine used to say, "Theology that isn't practical isn't biblical." 

 

What theology ultimately does is tell us about the structure of the universe and reality. 

 

This is what happens most of the time. People come out of seminary with their advanced degrees, but they don't know how to explain the concepts in Scripture so that it makes a difference in the way people think and interact with life. They understand the doctrine of the hypostatic union or that Jesus is both God and man. "That's nice but I have a marriage problem." or "I have a problem with raising my children." or "I have an addiction or sin problem, help me with that." They don't understand that biblically in order to address the problems that we have in life, the adversities that come either from external circumstances or are self-generated through our sin nature, we have to understand these fundamental doctrines because they structure our thinking and give a framework within which we are then able to understand God's solutions to various problems. 

 

So when you come to Philippians 2 there is a backdrop to this exhortation. That is what we have in verse 5. It is a command in 2:5 to let this mind, this kind of thinking, be in you. Why? Because apparently there was some problem going on in the congregation. One of the things that is always fun about dealing with people is that we all have sin natures. When people let there sin natures run uncontrolled, it always produces friction. It always produces problems. It can manifest itself in marriages. It can manifest itself in families. It can manifest itself at the workplace.  You go through life with a group of people working together in a team. All of a sudden one person gets arrogant and self absorbed. The next thing you know (and you don't even see it coming), the team fragments. All of a sudden there is competition within the team. One person is doing one thing and backbiting and gossiping against another person. You wonder, "What in the world happened?" Sometimes it comes out of left field.  The same thing can happen within a family. It can happen within a marriage. People are going along and they are happy and growing together.  Then all of a sudden out of the blue there is friction, fighting, argument, and strife. 

 

We touched on this a little bit on Tuesday night when we were in Genesis. That is what happened in the family of Isaac because there was carnality. That is evidence. In Galatians 5:17-19 we have strife and contention and dissention. It is all work of the flesh. It rears its ugly head.  As believers, we have to have certain tools to handle that on our own. Are we part of the problem or are we part of the solution? Are we the one operating on arrogance? Often it is hard for us to see because we get blinded by our own arrogance because when we get involved in those arrogance skills and we move from self-absorption. Then we go to self-indulgence and then we move to self-justification. We get into that pattern of self-justification. We blind ourselves which goes to self deception and we don't see that we are just as much a part of the problem as any body else because we are operating on our own agenda. In the process of operating on our own agenda we forget that we are here to serve the Lord and His agenda and not our agenda whatever the circumstances may be. So we have to pull ourselves back. That is apparently the situation or part of the situation that was going on in Philippians. For example you have it brought out in Philippians 4:2. Paul speaks.

 

NKJ Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

NKJ Philippians 4:2 I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.

 

So there are obviously two people whose personal conflict with one another is now affecting the whole congregation. We don't know if it was only their conflict but he singles those two individuals out to be marked for all eternity as examples of sin natures run amuck in the Scriptures.  Aren't you glad God isn't writing the Scriptures any more and using us as negative examples in the Word? There is obviously this problem of contentiousness, discord and strife within the congregation. So the principles for the solution to this apply to you in a marriage, in a family, in business relationships, in friendships or whatever it is, it has to do with basic people testing. At some point we have to stifle the arrogance of the old sin nature. Only believers really have the opportunity to put that in check because their relationship with God and the Holy Spirit leading there life. Unbelievers can only reach a pseudo humility because they aren't regenerate. They don't have the Holy Spirit so they can't produce anything that doesn't come out of the sin nature. They don't have another nature like believers do so they can only exercise a certain amount of self control in order to bring that into control. So what Paul says in the beginning of Philippians 2 in the first four verses is to emphasize the foundational realities that are true for every believer by virtue of our position in Jesus Christ. He is drawing an inference in verse 1.

 

NKJ Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,

 

Then he follows this by the use of several first class conditions in the Greek. A first class condition in the Greek is a way of expressing an "if" clause - if this, if that. There are four different ways in Koine Greek to express the "if" condition and this is what is called a first class condition.  Only three are actually used in Scripture. There is a debate over the fourth one. There is only one possible place where that it is used and that is incomplete so we aren't going to go there. This isn't a study on Greek grammar. 

 

If there is any consolation. If and there is. It almost has the idea of "since". "Since" is not the correct way to translate a first class condition, but it does get the thrust across to us. Since there is consolation in Christ. Since there is comfort of love. Since there is fellowship of the Spirit.  Since there is affection and mercy. This is all within the body of Christ. Then the command - fulfill my joy by being like minded. That's the command in the first four verses. Being like-minded means to have the same love being of one accord, being of one mind, thinking the same thing. In other words this person can't be operating on their agenda and this other person operating on their agenda and a third person operating on their agenda. There needs to be one thought. 

 

NKJ Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?

 

That is a fundamental principle. When you get two people and one starts operating on their own agenda apart from the other one, there is a fragmentation. It takes two people to make a marriage work, but it only takes one person to mess it up. You can have a family working well together and one person decides to operate on their own agenda and it brings discord or disharmony to the whole family. The same thing can happen at work or anywhere else. You can get one person who is more concerned about them than the team and everything falls apart. 

 

So Paul says.

 

NKJ Philippians 2:2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

 

NKJ Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

 

So there has to be a proper perspective on our relationship to one another. 

 

NKJ Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

That is just a summary. I am not going through these first four verses in detail but to see that there is a foundation that since there are certain realities that we all share in common because of our position in Christ. Because of our position in Christ, it is true for all of us because of grace.  None of us deserve it. Every one of us is a fragmented sinner because of the possession of the sin nature; but we have these realties in Christ that if we are walking by means of the Spirit, then these can be brought into play. That is the only way that the command of verse two can be brought about. So this is a sense of unity among self oriented sinners. 

 

Then there is the positive command not to do anything from selfish ambition. 

 

Then he gives an example. That is where this whole passage on this most remarkable statement of the person of Christ is an example to us of how we can fulfill those mandates in verse 4. 

 

Now how do you do that? He says, "Well, here is the example." He's not going to give an illustration from some great figure of history. He is not going to give an example from some individual in the Old Testament. He doesn't go to Moses even though Moses is considered the most humble person in the Old Testament. He goes to the benchmark of humility, which is the Lord Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate state as God. That becomes the model for us of humility. 

 

NKJ Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

 

The mandate to have this attitude is the Greek word phroneo which means to think, to reason, to have a certain mental attitude. It is a present imperative which means this is to be a standard characteristic of the believer's life. Present imperatives emphasize ongoing attitudes. It is a standard operating procedure. 

 

He is the standard for our attitude especially when you get into those knock down drag out relationship problems.

 

NKJ Philippians 2:6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,

 

"Who" is the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

So let's look at this. This is the present active participle of the verb huparcho which has to do with ongoing existence. It is the idea of concession that even though He existed in the form of God. 

 

And that word form is the Greek word morphe. Now morphe was a word that was used in philosophical discourse in ancient Greece so it had a technical meaning. It's not just the external structure or shape of something. But it was used to refer to the internal structure of something, that which made something what it was, so that the dog had the morphe of dogness in it and a chair has themorphe of chairness in it. You have a chair at home. You have a lawn chair. You have a Lazy Boy recliner. You have all kinds of different chairs but what make a chair a chair (according to Greek philosophy) is that it as the essence of chairness in it. So you as an individual when you go to a store you may have never seen that kind of chair before but when you look at it you know that it's a chair, don't you? We all have this knowledge. It is amazing how we learn that growing up. 

 

But that is what they are getting at. How do you understand universals? You watch a small child and he is out there in the neighborhood. You have a little two or three year old and he is just learning vocabulary. You see a Chihuahua and you say that it's a dog. They see a poodle and we say that's a dog. When they see a German Shepherd they don't say, "Cat," do they? They figured out that it's a dog. They have never seen that before but they know that's a dog. That is how God has structured our minds to work. As we learn certain universals and then we see something that we have never seen before our mind is able to take that and we automatically categorize that into its right category. That is because we are able to identify what that essence is. That was called in Greek philosophy the morphe of something. So when we say here that He existed in the form of God it's not talking about the structure or shape of God, but the internal essence or nature of deity. 

 

So Paul says that although Jesus Christ existed in the nature of God and that existence would have been eternal existence, never ending existence. He was always God. As the Nicene Creed put it He was very God, a very God, true God of true God. He was eternally God. 

 

Although He existed in the morphe of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. Now when is this happening? Is it happening before the incarnation or after the incarnation? It was happening before the incarnation. It was happening in eternity past as God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit were in the holy huddle which is called the Council of Divine Decrees. They were setting out the game plan for salvation. 

 

This is a thought word. We are to do what? We are to have a mental attitude in us, phroneo. So this is focusing on the thought of Jesus Christ, His mentality.

 

The word for regard is the Greek word hegeomai, which means to engage in an intellectual process, to think, to consider, to regard. So it's thinking.

 

Now don't lose the ball for all the details. What's the command? The command here is to have humility, to be able to fulfill the mandate back in verse 4 not to look out for your own interests but also for the interests of others. Don't be involved in other words in self-glorification, but the glorification of others. That is what Hebrews 5:5 is talking about. Jesus didn't seek glorification for Himself in becoming a high priest. The model for us is that we are not to seek self-glorification but to look out for the interests of others. So we are supposed to have a mental attitude.  It isn't a feeling. It isn't an emotion. It's not something that some people have and other people don't have. Frankly it is something that nobody has it unless it is done in the power of the Holy Spirit. So Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate state in eternity past did not consider, did not think that equality with God was something to be grasped.

 

Literal Translation: who (the Lord Jesus Christ) although He eternally existed with identical essence to God did not think (did not consider) that this is something that should be grasped after.

 

So this thinking, this mental attitude was part of His deity because it was happening before the incarnation. Right? We have to think about that.  So the model here is related beginning with His mental attitude in deity. 

 

So He didn't think that equality with God was something to be grasped after. That is a very picturesque Greek word harpagmos which means to violently seize something. It is related to the verb harpazo which is the word that comes to be translated the rapture in I Thessalonians 4:16-18.  The Lord Jesus Christ will come back in the air and we will be caught up to be with Him. It means to be seized or to be taken somewhere. So the noun form here harpagmos has to do with the violent seizure of property or robbery. It has the idea of claiming or asserting title by griping something or grasping something. It is grabbing onto something that may not be something that you have a right to. The contrast that Paul is making here is that Adam and Eve were grabbing for that fruit. They were grabbing after deity. They wanted to be like God. They weren't God, but they wanted to be like God. That is what the temptation was. "If you eat you of that fruit, you will be like God." 

 

"Oooo!  That is good.  I can be just like God."

 

Jesus who was God has the opposite view. He is not into self promotion. He doesn't want to promote Himself even to advance His own rightful deity as a leader. That is set in contrast of course to not only Adam's fall but also to Satan's fall. Satan is grasping after deity. He wants to be like God - the 5 "I will's" of Isaiah 14. Satan wanted to be like God, like the Most High and to run the universe. So in contrast to the arrogance and the grasping nature of Satan, you have the Lord Jesus Christ the Second Person of the Trinity who exemplifies the opposite. Because you see in the plan of God what is important is not to be the leader who rules or asserts himself over man but to be a servant. So in the angelic conflict what you continually have is how the plan of God emphasizes character qualities that are in direct contrast to the character qualities that are exemplified by Satan and therefore the sin nature and the cosmic system. It calls for a complete change in your values. If you are involved in business, if you have any responsibility over people as a leader then your whole concept of leadership changes if you are a believer. Your concept of leadership and authority is transformed because the model for leadership is now that of a servant, the Lord Jesus Christ, as opposed to the model that the world puts forth which is somebody who is gathering power and authority to themselves so that they can promote their own agenda being motivated of course by everything from power lust to approbation lust and everything along the way.

 

So the Lord Jesus Christ although He eternally existed with identical essence to God the Father did not think equality with God was a claim to be advanced or asserted.

 

He is not going to set Himself up to be high priest. He is not into self-promotion.

 

NKJ Philippians 2:7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

 

In contrast, He emptied Himself. That is the famous word that we run across kenoo which means to make empty or to empty. That is where you get the kenosis problem because liberals came along and they said, "He gave up His deity." Or, "He became less that God. He becomes a man."  The idea of the word must be defined by the context. The context tells us how He emptied Himself. He doesn't empty Himself by giving up deity, by becoming less than God. He takes on something. Something is added to His eternal deity. He never gives up anything. He is still fully God in the incarnation. So He empties Himself.

 

Then we have two key participles - taking and being made. They are adverbial participles and should be understood as instrumental. Now an instrumental participle will tell you how He empties Himself. He empties Himself by taking the form of a bondservant. If you insert that little preposition "by" it is going to give you a better understanding of what is going on here. 

 

How does Jesus humble Himself? He takes on the form of a what? Of a leader? Of a king? Of a prince? No, of a bondservant. He comes meek and lowly riding the foal of a donkey. He doesn't come fitting the preconceived notion of fallen man that this is how leaders should function and operate. So he changes the whole dynamic of what leadership is all about.

 

He empties Himself by receiving (lambano) taking on the form of a servant. 

 

Secondly, by being made in the likeness of men. Now the word form there (form of a bondservant) is the same word we had earlier with the essence of God. So He takes on the form, the morphe, the nature of a bondservant. So something is added to His deity. It is added in the sense that He brings in a second nature. There is no merger of the natures. There is no intermingling of the attributes. This is what we call the hypostatic union. In the incarnation the undiminished deity of Christ added to itself in terms of nature a human nature so that within the person of Christ you have two natures - undiminished deity and true humanity that are united in one person forever. So this goes on forever and ever.  Jesus Christ ten billion years from now is still going to be in hypostatic union. That won't ever change. It doesn't reach some point in eternity future where he sloughs off like an old snakeskin His humanity. He is in hypostatic union forever. 

 

He takes on the form of a bondservant. Then we have that same verb that we have in Hebrews 5, the verb ginomai, to become something that He wasn't before. That is what is important. A fascinating study is these three words that we have in Greek for existence. There are three words for existence. There is the verb to be, eimi. Something is. For example,

NKJ John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

That's the imperfect tense of eimi indicating ongoing eternal existence because the imperfect tense in the Greek has to do with continual action in past time. 

 

In the first three verses in the Gospel of John you have this emphasis on the eternal existence of Jesus Christ. He was. He was. He was. It is ongoing existence.

 

Then you get to the sixth verse and it says.

 

NKJ John 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

 

What is the verb in the English? It is "was". It is the same verb in the English that you have in the first three verses. But in Greek it shifted. It went from eimi which indicated ongoing existence to ginomai which indicates coming into existence. That is the contrast in John 1. 

 

The Word was eternal, but John came into existence. There was a man who came into existence. John is a creature in contrast to Jesus Christ who is the Creator and has eternal existence. 

 

Then the other word that we have is one that we saw back in verse 6 is huparcho. So these are the three words that you use in Greek to express existence. Here we have the word ginomai the same word that we have in Hebrews 5:5.

 

NKJ Hebrews 5:5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You."

 

So He empties Himself by taking the form of a bondservant and being made into and adding something that He didn't already have. Something came into existence – the physical form of a man. 

 

"In the likeness of man" is schema in the Greek which means the outward form of a man. 

 

NKJ Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

 

Now we are post incarnation, aren't we? Up to this point we have understood humility as exemplified as a divine characteristic. But now what we see is the same virtue being exemplified in hypostatic union so it is not simply an attribute of deity. Someone might say, "Of course that is God. It is unachievable." This is showing that it is now part of His humanity and He exemplifies it in His humanity. 

 

So the first word there is heurisko which means to discover something, to find something. It is an aorist passive participle, which precedes the action of the main verb. He is found, He is discovered, and He appears as a man. Schema is the outward shape, form or appearance of someone. 

 

He has a human body and a human nature that has been added to His deity.

 

The Greek word there is tapeinoo which means to humble yourself, to see yourself in proper relation to reality, or to place under authority.  Humility in Scripture and meekness are words that we don't understand in our culture. The Greeks didn't understand them either. In fact someone who was humble really had a problem. If you weren't tooting your own horn, who would? 

 

This is the idea of giving up your rights. The first time I did a word study on this I was teaching in public school. Now if you want a lesson in humility just go get in a classroom. And that was 30 years ago. When I taught school even though I was certified in history and English I graduated so late in the summer that I couldn't find a teaching job. The only thing that opened up (I was hoping that it would develop into something else but God had other plans) was that I ran an in-school suspension class in Channelview, Texas. That was a lovely place to be and those were some of the loveliest children. Because instead of suspending the kids, somebody somewhere came up with the bright idea that when we suspend kids and send them home, the state doesn't give us money because they aren't there. "So let's figure a way to keep them on campus so we can still get our bucks for their presence. But we will make it some sort of punishment." So they created what they call the special assignment class. The acronym was SAC. They would get SAC'd and they would be sent to me. I had just come out of four years of ROTC in college so I was ready to be a drill sergeant. I had more fun harassing those kids. 

 

The one thing that I kept hearing from them was, "You can't do that. We have our rights. You can't say that. We have our rights." I got so sick and tired of these snotty nosed junior high kids asserting their rights. 

 

 But that is probably how God feels about us. We want to assert our rights. In Greek culture that was a positive thing, to assert your rights. If you aren't promoting yourself, who is? This concept of humility, this Greek word tapeinoo is the idea of not asserting your rights even though you have every legitimate claim to something; you are not going to assert it. You are not going to put yourself forward. You are going to (as the Bible puts it) have a proper perspective on who you are and where you fit within the structure of reality and the structure of authority. 

 

This is the idea that the Scripture said when it refers to Moses as the meekest man in the world in history. He is not meek because he is a door mat and people take advantage of him and run over him all the time and mistreat him. He wouldn't have lasted 40 years if he was that way trying to take two million rebellious obstreperous Jews through the desert. He would have lasted 48 hours if that long. It is the idea that he recognized who he was under the authority of God. He understood exactly what his role was. He knew exactly what his responsibilities were. He knew what the limits were. He put himself under the authority of God. That is what humility is. It is putting yourself under the proper authority and staying there. When you recognize what the authority is in your life whether it is authority within business, whether it is the authority in family or the authority in marriage, whether it is the authority within God's creation in the divine institutions whatever it is, when we are in proper relationship to authority that's humility. It gives us the right to assert our position as leaders because we are in right relation to authority. Arrogance is not a factor of the equation. 

 

How do you humble yourself? By becoming obedient to the point of death. Humility is directly related to authority orientation. That is the core issue in all of human history because that is the point of satanic failure in eternity past. He wanted to be like God. He was overthrowing divine authority. So, genuine biblical humility is the key issue in spiritual advance. And it's related to obedience. 

 

So Jesus Christ humbles Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. This last phrase is to emphasize the fact that death on the cross was one of the most humiliating forms of punishment (in terms of human viewpoint) in all of history. Only the lowest of the low was crucified. Only the most horrible criminals were crucified. If you were a Roman citizen you couldn't be crucified because only the scum of the earth got crucified. 

 

So here is the God of the universe, the ruler of the universe who has entered human history to come to His people but His people rejected Him.  They end up crucifying Him as if He is the lowest of the low. He is at the bottom of the social echelon to be put on a cross. And yet this is the God that we have. He became a servant to the point that He was humiliated in the most egregious fashion, but He was willing to humble Himself under the authority of God. 

 

Again we have that word becoming, ginomai. He became obedient to the point of death, death on the cross. That is His path to glorification. He doesn't glorify Himself. He humbles Himself to the point of death. 

 

The result is verse 9.

 

NKJ Philippians 2:9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

 

This is what happens at the resurrection in Acts 13:33. God declares Him to be His begotten Son. 

 

NKJ Acts 13:33 "God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.'

 

That is one of the three passages in Scripture that quotes Psalm 2:7.

 

NKJ Psalm 2:7 "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.

 

The emphasis is on eternal His reality, but it's the foundation of His future role as high priest. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name. So it exalts Him to His present position at the right hand of God the Father where He is in session and ultimately where He will be exalted as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This is in the future. This is the reference in verses 10 and 11.

NKJ Philippians 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

 

That includes all creatures – holy angels as well as fallen angels.

 

NKJ Philippians 2:11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

That happens at the end of the tribulation period when Jesus Christ returns as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His path to glory was through obedience to the authority set over Him.

 

So let's go back to where we started in Hebrews 5:5.

 

NKJ Hebrews 5:5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You."

 

He is not into self exaltation. This runs in complete contrast to the human method of operation. Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest. This was the Father's plan. The Father appointed Him. That is the whole thrust. Remember in the first four verses the whole theme there was that the human high priest Aaron was appointed by God. 

 

Who is He who said to Him? It is God the Father. 

 

We come to a quote from Psalm 2:7. Now this quote isn't from exegesis, it is application. There is just one little aspect of this quote that he is emphasizing. This is so typical of Jewish methods of handling Old Testament Scripture. They would sometimes quote a whole passage or a whole verse a whole lengthy passage as Peter does on the Day of Pentecost. He quotes a whole passage from Joel 2:28-32. He is only emphasizing a point of comparison. The writer of Hebrews does the same thing when we get over to Hebrews 8 when it talks about the New Covenant. He quotes the whole passage from Jeremiah 31 only to make one point. That is that it says "new" in contrast to "old". You have to understand this characteristic of Jewish interpretation. He is not exegeting or expounding on the principle of the eternal sonship of Christ or even the implications of Him being declared the begotten one of the Father. He is simply pointing out that it is the Father who makes the declaration related to the position of the Son. He doesn't declare it Himself. It is the Father who declares His position. He is under the authority of the Father.

 

NKJ Hebrews 5:6 As He also says in another place: "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek";

 

Verse 6 quotes that second important passage that is frequently quoted in Hebrews, Psalm 110:4. 

 

NKJ Psalm 110:4 The LORD has sworn And will not relent, "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek."

 

Who appoints Him? You have a connection here between the sonship of Christ and the Melchizedekean priesthood. This flows out of the author's understanding of Christ's position as the eternal Son. 

 

Flip back a couple of pages to Hebrews 1. This is the first time in Hebrews 1:2 that the writer introduces us to the sonship of Christ in terms of His eternal sonship as the Son of God.

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

 

He gives us the characteristics of who the Son is. He is defining sonship. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:3 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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

 

Who is it that purges sin? It is a priest. So at the very beginning he is making a connection between the eternal sonship of Christ and His eternal work as a priest.

 

Now turn back to Hebrews 4:14.

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

 

We know then that we have a what? A great High Priest. 

 

Who? Jesus, the Son of God. So he again connects priestly function to His position as the Son of God.

 

NKJ Hebrews 5:6 As He also says in another place: "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek";

 

He ties these concepts of Psalm 2:7 and 110:4 together again. It is position as the eternal Second Person of the Trinity and He takes on and becomes a high priest because this is appointed to Him by God the Father. Then he is going to make application. This isn't some nice little truth that Jesus Christ is a High Priest. It impacts how you and I handle suffering and how we handle adversity everyday of our lives. That is seen in the next two verses that we will see next time. It lays the groundwork for the whole understanding of the spiritual life. So we will start there next Thursday night.