"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: . . ." — Philippians 2:5
The verses in our Bible reading today may have come from an early hymn. Back then no one had a Bible or anything in print. People had to memorize whatever was important to know. So the early Christians composed songs and brief sayings that helped them remember the core teachings of their faith in Christ. They carried these truths in their hearts.
This song gets at the essence of who Jesus was, what he did, and how he accomplished salvation: he did it through humility. He was the Son of God. He had all power, all knowledge. It was the kind of position that most of us would not want to give up.
But Jesus did give it all up. He set aside his privileged place and became a human being. And once he became human, he went even further and made himself everyone’s servant. He was not some powerful political leader. He did not even have a position in the religious establishment of his day.
Jesus came to serve. He came to die. He came to die shamefully, like some criminal—though he never sinned. Paul uses these words to challenge the Philippians not to let pride ruin their community. If the Son of God could give up all that he gave up, including his own life for our sake, surely the rest of us can give up our foolish pride and offer our lives to him. It is very simply the gospel way.