Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church. Today’s devotion is by Dylan Murphy. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,
he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:1-11
This passage begins with Paul stating that if Christ means anything to you, then resolve your differences and be joyous in Christ’s love with one another, and to do things for the benefit of others and not for personal gain. To show the Philippians how powerful unselfish behavior can be, he cites Jesus as an example. He cites Jesus, saying that because Jesus emptied himself and gave himself over to his Father’s plan for him, even to the point of accepting death on a cross (the equivalent of the electric chair in 1st century Palestine), that is why his name is exalted by God.
Now would be a good time to take into account Paul’s situation in life at the time of his writing this letter to the Philippians. Paul was in jail and was at risk of execution. So, when we take this into account we learn several things.
First, that Paul is willing to die for his Christian faith. Second, that he accepts this willingly and gives himself over to it. And third, that Paul could also serve as his own proof that caring for others more than for oneself is far more powerful than self interest. He is eventually freed and spared, so that he can continue to follow God’s plan for him, in spreading the word of God through signs, healings, baptisms, and conversions.
Let us pray: Jesus, give me comfort that my loved ones who do not know you – will know you in the end when every knee bows to you. Amen.