"For this reason also, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2: 9-10
Distilling the redemption story down to one word is a challenge. Some would say, it is love. Others would suggest sacrifice. Based on my understanding of Paul's letter to the Church at Philippi, I would submit for your consideration the word "humility."
"He (Jesus) humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:8
Jesus did not grasp equality with God. He expressed humility before God. The result was a Son under authority, not a rebellious child striving to be in authority. The power of God is released to and through His children who are under His authority, not those who are looking for a title or a position of authority. Jesus made clear that the citizens of The Kingdom were humble children, not rebellious brats.
“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:4
When a Roman Centurion sought the healing hand of Jesus upon his servant, he believed a word from jesus would be enough. He told Jesus there would be no need for Him to travel to his home. He had observed the life and ministry of Jesus, and wisely concluded, "I too am a man under authority." Jesus responded, "I have not seen this kind of faith in all of Israel. (See Luke 7:8 and following)
What the Roman observed and The Savior honored was the condition of power and authority. There is a huge difference between being under authority, and being in authority. Chasing titles and puffing up resumes makes a name. Being under authority makes a difference. Celebrity results from the former, humility produces the latter.
"He humbled Himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death." v.8
Humble do not elevate themselves. They lower themselves. Jesus cultivated an attitude of humility, by a life of prayer. It was through prayer that The Son of God yielded His way to the will of The Father. Jesus put to death any spirit of temptation for rebellion in his life, by humbling Himself before The Father in prayer.
Jesus prayed early in the morning, throughout the day, and late into the night, He prayed daily, moment by moment. He prayed aloud and in silence, alone and in crowds.
Prayer was the life breath of Jesus. Through prayer humility became the strength of His character, and obedience became the motivation of His life. Today His intercession for His followers is the key component for the health of His church.
When the pivotal moment of the story of redemption was being played out and prayed through in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus came to the point of "Not My will, but Thy will be done."
This humbling of His will to the Father's will marked a pivotal moment in time. The kneeling of Jesus, in humility, softened His heart to receive God's authority. The humble prayer of Jesus softened his heart until His will was yielded to God's will and His authority was stamped on the name of Jesus.
"so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW." v 10
Hardened hearts may gain celebrity status, but they will never be marked by God's authority. Titles and positions may gain a person notoriety, but God's power is released through people of prayer and humility.
It is worth remembering that the kneeling Jesus preceded the exalted Jesus. Any follower of Jesus that chooses to by-pass this pattern and priority may make a name for themselves, but they will miss out on the purpose of life.
Prayerless people are tempted to use the name of Jesus to bring glory to themselves. They may pray in the name of Jesus and say, "Give God the glory." They also say, "Make out the check in my name."
Prayerful people humble themselves, thinking of themselves less, and making more of Jesus. They pray in His name, not to elevate themselves or their prayer life, but "to the glory of God the Father." TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!