The Father chose his unique Son to go the way of lowly service for us. And the Son freely chose to go that way as the Lord who serves. Father and Son made this decision together in the Spirit
Jesus did not go this way of lowly self-giving service alone. He was always in the Father and the Father in him. Jesus, therefore, went the way of lowly Servant-Son in union with his Father in the Spirit. The Father sends his Son into the world to serve in lowliness and he is in his Son as he serves. The Spirit rests on the Son as he serves his Father and us so that all he does is in the Spirit. So in Jesus, the lowly servant, the Triune One is among us making his eternal decision happen in history. His decision to be God with us and for us; and for us to be with him.
But what kind of happening is it? Might it not have happened? For sure, all that happened in Jesus within history is rooted in the divine decision which is divinely fulfilled in Jesus. He comes among us rescuing us from the power of sin and death. He dies to end the reign of sin and death over us and we die to that reign with him. He rises as the new man in the new creation and we rise with him to newness of life. He is himself the dramatic saving happening in history making actual God’s communal decision. And now by the Spirit the same Jesus happens in us calling us to faith and sure expectation for the future.
Some might say that humility is foreign to God. To be God in all his Majesty he must be the very opposite of lowliness. He must exist in perfect bliss in contrast to all suffering. He must be above and beyond all that is earthly. He must be the Most High and Wholly Other.
But in Jesus God has actually become the lowly suffering human. In doing so, he exposes our ideas of “The Most High” as entirely false. He shows us that we cannot make our own abstract notions the standard by which to decide what God can or cannot do. Truly, Jesus corrects our notions of who God is and what he is like.
Jesus is the Most High who went down to the lowest place in order to lift us up with him to the highest place. He wanted to include us within the communion he shares with his Father in the Spirit. To do so, he came to us as lowly servant going down the lowest place of death on a cross to bring us to his Father in the Spirit. With our eyes fixed on Jesus we do not know God as the “Divine Being” above and beyond us. We only know him as the God who has joined himself to us as lowly servant in order to lift us up with him to the highest place in communion with his Father in the Spirit.
And now in the Father’s presence we lift Jesus up on high as the one who stooped so low taking up our cause as his own in deepest humility.
The One who was in the form of God humbled himself taking the form of a servant. He renounced the honour and glory of his divine status in the form of God for the lowly status of a servant. As lowly servant he moved down to the lowest place – death on a cross.
We ask, what is God like? The answer to that question is revealed as much in lowly self giving as it is in exalted rule. The one who is in the form of God, with supreme status above all, made himself nothing. The God who is so very high is the same God who stooped so very low. And now his Father has exalted him to the highest place giving him the name above every name. He lifted Jesus up on high not in spite of the fact that he made himself nothing but because he did so.
One day all creation will recognise Jesus, the lowly servant, as the one true Lord before whom all should bow. Until that day comes, the Holy Spirit enables us to bow before Jesus confessing him as Lord. In the Spirit we lift up in praise the One who stooped so low. In the Spirit we confess as Lord the one who came not to be served but to serve us in lowly self-giving. In the Spirit we magnify the sovereign on the throne as the man on the cross. In the Spirit, we bow before Jesus to the glory of God the Father.