For Lord’s Day, May 2, 2021
I am planning and preparing to return to Philippians for our evening sermons this Lord’s Day. We left off with Christ’s incredible self-humiliation. But we will see next that His reward is His super-exaltation!
Philippians 2:9, 11 read in part, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name … that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
There is much to be said about this verse and its implication for Christians to be encouraged that if they humble themselves in Christ on earth God will exalt them in Christ in the new heavens and earth. One illustration by James Montgomery Boice in his commentary on Philippians I think would be a little challenging to digest in a sermon, but it is very impressive to help us get at what Paul is saying especially in verse 11 of chapter two. I’d like to share it here with you as our e-devotion for this week:
“During the nineteenth century, when Italy was divided into a number of independent states, there was a popular movement for the reunification of Italy under Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia. Before he became king there was a surge of enthusiasm to drive out the Austrians, keep the French at the borders, and to place this man on the throne. A slogan embodied the hopes of the Italian people during this period composed of the first letters of the Italian phrase meaning, ‘Victor Emmanuel King of Italy.’ In Italian the phrase is ‘Victor Emmanuel Re di Italia,’ and by taking the first letters form each of the Italian words, the patriots produced the slogan verdi [bold GVL]. At this time the the great opera composer Giuseppi Verdi was at the apex of his fame. Hence, his name became a symbol of the reunification of Italy and was written everywhere. In 1861, Victor Emmanuel became king of the united states of Italy, and at the time verdi was still displayed across the country. Now, however, the slogan took on an entirely different meaning. It was no longer a cry of expectation; it was a triumphant acknowledgment of what had already happened.
“In exactly the same way the confession ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ on our lips is expectation, at best an acknowledgment of what is only partially true or true in potential. But the day that these verses speak of is coming, when the confession will stand as a glorious acknowledgment of what has already taken place. Jesus is Lord, but then there will be no more rivals to the throne.”
How amazing to consider also that verse 10 is directly quoting Isaiah 45:23 and applying it, as Paul does in Romans 14:11, to Jesus Christ: because in that context it is referring to the LORD, Jehovah, Yahweh as the only true God Who alone is sovereign and judges and worthy of worship! This is true now. But one day, at the Last Great Day, everyone will acknowledge this openly. Or, said another way, no one will be allowed to deny Christ any longer, not even the fallen angels, men, nor Satan himself who all the while has sought to usurp Christ’s throne (Isaiah 14:13-15).