Philippians 2:5–11 (NRSV)
Verse 5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, Verse 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, Verse 7but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, Verse 8he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death- even death on a cross. Verse 9Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, Verse 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, Verse 11and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Suffering, pain, and loss are not usually popular themes in most dominant societies. “Successful” people, or “good” people, don’t suffer, are not in pain, and definitely do not lose.
Jesus didn’t agree. The apostle Paul knew this. That is why he could challenge his friends in Philippi (and us) to “let the same mind be in [us] that was in Christ Jesus.” What mind did Jesus have? He emptied himself. He humbled himself. He let his enemies mock him, beat him, and kill him. He. Lost. Everything.
Don’t be fooled by the next words, which assert how God has “exalted” Jesus. Don’t think this is another version of “success” and “goodness” based on “everything goes my way.” Jesus’ exaltation WAS his suffering, pain, and loss. His extended arms on the cross made room for everyone—especially those who experience suffering, pain, and loss—to know that they are part of God’s kingdom, along with everyone else.
O God, let the mind of Christ be in us. Let us open our hearts and minds and lives to all those whom you love, that all may proclaim that God’s love is found in Christ. Amen.