Living Word Christian Magazine

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THE DOCTRINE OF THE KENOSIS of JESUS CHRIST

THE DOCTRINE OF THE KENOSIS of JESUS CHRIST PHILIPPIANS 2:1-11
by
CARL WHORLEY,ASSOCIATE PASTOR LIGHTHOUSE BAPTIST CHURCH LEWISTOWN, MONTANA

PHILIPPIANS 2:1-11
[1] If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
[2] Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
[3] Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
[4] Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
[5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
[6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
[7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
[8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
[9] Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
[10] That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
[11] And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

PHILIPPIANS 2:1
[1] If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
[1] ei tiV oun paraklhsiV en cristw ei ti paramuqion agaphV ei tiV koinwnia pneumatoV ei tis splagcna kai oiktirmoi

The English word consolation comes from the Greek word paraklhsiV/paraklesis.  This is the root for comforter or for the ministry of Holy Spirit.  Which means that the Apostle begins this verse with the English word if which could be better interpreted since.  Therefore, Philippians 2:1 would start off with …Since we are true born again believers…

Mercies wold have to do with a true believer who is growing in the love, holiness and compassion of Jesus Christ.  That they are making a steady growth in the things of Christ.

In Philippians 2:1, the Apostle gives four evidences of a person who is truly saved and born again:
1.  Their consolation is in Christ
2.  They are growing in the love of the Comforter/Holy Spirit
3.  Their fellowship is with Holy Spirit and not the world, the flesh and the devil
4.  If the believer is growing in and demonstrating the deep love and affection that can only come from Jesus Christ

Colossians 3:12…Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

PHILIPPIANS 2:2
[2] Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
[2] plhrwsate mou thn caran ina to auto fronhte thn authn agaphn econteV sumyucoi to en fronounteV

The Apostle wanted the Philippian believers to perfect, or fulfil, within themselves, and within the ekklesia/ecclesia, the same identical joy in Christ which the Apostle has attained.  The fundamental admonition of the Apostle in Philippians 2:2, is that the true body of believers have one uniform direction with one common mission or purpose.  Demonstrating a unity of thought, will and intent.  For a true body of believers will seek a like minded common goal demonstrating a brotherly disposition in all things as in Christ.

Philippians is known as God’s book on human psychology.  In Philippians there are fifteen reference to joy or rejoicing.  In Philippians there are seventy five references to the person of Jesus Christ.

The Pauline admonition here in Philippians 2:2, is a singularized direction of a common mind with unity of thought and human will.  Here, the Apostle issues an all important admonition that we who are men and women of faith must seek the same goals in Christ with a holy like mindedness.  We who are born again believers should establish the given unity which maintains a Christian disposition of all things.

The Apostle is asking the Philippian Church to fully know and understand the status of joy and completeness which he has with Jesus by perfecting the same identical relationship with Jesus within themselves.

Born again believers are to be united in both mind and thought

Romans 12:3…For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

I Corinthians 4:6…And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

The thirty five steps through the Philippian Manuscript
1.  Become a subject of God’s grace (1:6)
2.  Be partaker of God’s grace (1:7)
3.  Abound more in love (1:9)
4.  Approve all things that are excellent (1:10)
5.  Be without offence to the end (1:10)
6.  Be sincere until the end (1:11)
7.  Be filled with fruits of righteousness (1:11)
8.  Let you manner of life be asbecometh the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1:27)
9.  Stand fast in one spirit and one mind with others striving together for the Gospel (1:27)
10. Be not terrified by enemies (1:28)
11.  Suffer for His sake (1:29)
12.  Be likeminded with Christ ( 2:2)
13.  Have the same love (2:2)
14.  Be of one accord, of one mind with other believers (2:2 & 3:16)
15.  Let nothing be done through strife of vain glory (2:3)
16.  Esteem others better than yourself (2:3)
17.  Be interested in others (2:4)
18.  Let the mind of Christ be in you (2:5)
19.  Obey the Gospel (2:12)
20.  Work out your own Salvation (2:12-13)
21.  Do all things without murmurings and disputings (2:14)
22.  Be blameless, harmless, and without rebuke among men (2:15)
23:  Hold forth the Word of Life (2:16)
24.  Beware of dogs, evil workers, and the circumcision party (3:2)
25.  Press toward the high calling (3:13-16)
26.  Walk by the Gospel standard (3:16)
27.  Be followers of me and mark enemies of the Cross of Christ (3:17-20)
28.  Stand fast in the Lord (4:1)
29.  Help all workers of Christ (4:3)
30.  Rejoice in the Lord always (4:4)
31.  Let your moderation be known to all men (4:5)
32.  Be anxious for nothing (4:6)
33.  Let request be known to God (4:6)
34.  Think on right things (4:8)
35.  Do what you have learned, received, heard and seen in me (4:9)

PHILIPPIANS 2:3
[3] Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
[3] mhden kata eriqeian h kenodoxian alla th tapeinofrosunh allhlouV hgoumenoi uperecontaV eautwn

Never oppose each other by acting for personal gain or from vanity.  Have a humbling view of yourselves, knowing your own secret faults and true self.  The Bible is very clear that believers are to abstain from  contention and being self-seeking.  Instead, the body of believers, as a whole, and as individuals, are to esteem each other in the Assembly.  Which means to have a higher opinion of others than of your own personal self and your own personal agendas.

Another way to describe vainglory, would be, self-glorification at the expense of others.  It can also mean self-glorification at the expense of God our Heavenly Father.

Strife has to do with factions and cliches within the Church body proper.  In order to achieve the unity in which the Apostle speaks, each believer must grow out of selfishness, personal vanity, haughtiness and self interest.  A true body of believers cannot survive in a world of petty jealousies.

Galatians 5:26…Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

James 3:14…But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

In order for a Church body to function at optimum, all selfishness, personal vanity, haughtiness and self interest must be, in toto, eradicated from the Assembly.

The Apostle was concerned that this, otherwise great Church, was going to be divided by petty jealousies and contentions.  We see this in Philippians 4:2.

Philippians 4:2…I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

Our personal and secret relationship with Jesus will always come out in our service for Him in the body of believers.  Jesus is not looking for arrogant Church dictators.  He is looking for humble and submissive servants.  Which means, instead of attempting to be the one who runs the Church, find a way to be the one who serves the Church.

PHILIPPIANS 2:4
[4] Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
[4]  mh ta eautwn ekastoV skopeite alla kai ta eterwn ekastos

Humility far exceeds strife and self-elevation.  Jesus always identifies Himself with His humility when standing before the Heavenly Father.

I Peter 2:21…For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

A successful Church body cannot busy itself with gloating in their own particular gifts and talents.  Bear in mind that these gifts and talents are gifts and talents from the Heavenly Father.  We see this in Acts 1:8.  We should be equally as interested in the gifts and talents of other believers around us.

Apparently, the Philippian Church was demonstrating petty jealousies inside the membership over various honors, gifts and rewards.  Paul then directs them toward a path of humility and servitude toward each other…not against each other.

John 13:35…By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

PHILIPPIANS 2:5
[5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
[5]touto gar froneisqw en umin o kai en cristw ihsou

In Philippians 2:5-11, the Apostle will use the supreme example of humility and subjected servitude.  That being, the person of Jesus Christ Himself.

In verses 1-4 of this chapter, the Apostle admonishes the Philippian Church to abandon their inner need of self gratification at the expense of other believers.  He does this by doing an inner psychological examination of how Jesus would handle this selfsame situation in the Church.

The factual historical account of the life of Jesus Christ is a definitive existence in the finalized history of humankind.  It is a decisive succession of substantiated events which governs the life and acts of all mankind.

The overall desire of the Apostle is to move the Church toward a mind-set of inner unity through servitude.  This, in spite of strong existential influences, attempts to deceive the Philippian body of believers into polarized directionalizations.

Philippians 2:5-11 is the climatic culmination of the Philippian manuscript.  Most of the language of the manuscript is somewhat casual in nature.  Then we come to these seven verses.  It is here that the language turns more to a formalized respect toward the Heavenly Father.

It is equally noteworthy how verses 5-11,  convey the conceptualization of the Apostle’s uniqueness of the person and work of Christ.  Paul’s point is that the disposition and temper of Church members ought always to be that of Christ.

PHILIPPIANS 2:6
[6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
[6] oV en morfh qeou uparcwn ouc arpagmon hghsato to einai isa qew

The Apostle’s wording proves surgically meticulous. It was imperative to him to insure that his readers would understand that this was the one and only Deity subjugating Himself to the lowliness of His own creation, humankind.  Jesus chose not to exercise His role in Heaven.  Instead, He took on the form of a lowly slave, in an effort to rescue all mankind.

The equal existence between the Son and Father was, from this point of view, as a perfect one-in-the-same cohesiveness of unity.  Jesus did not feel it inappropriate to have an equal position with the Father. For He was, is and always will be, the Heavenly Father. Though in mortal form, Jesus was still from everlasting to everlasting, the very God

Psalms 90:2…Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

Jesus was the physical form of God who exists from all eternity past, to all eternity future.

Isaiah 7:14…Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6-7…For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Micah 5:2…But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

John 1:1-3…In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Colossians 1:15-17…Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Hebrews 1:8…But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Revelation 1:8-11…I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Being the very God in a fleshly form, Jesus was comfortable displaying the same nature, essence and characteristics of Deity.  Though Jesus was the very God, He remained constant, never exploiting His position as the Deity with His own agenda.  What is constant, is that Jesus took on the form of a slave in order to fulfill the Divine destiny, will and purpose of the Heavenly Father.  Jesus gave us a supreme example.  Before the Heavenly Father, Jesus was a humble and submissive slave.  We should learn to be the same.

This self-humiliation of Jesus Christ had it’s genesis in the logic of Jesus Himself.  It began as an attitude of His own will.  Jesus concluded that Divine equality was not a position to be grasped or to be unworthily retained.  The Heavenly Father did not feel that the incarnation was in any mannerism a threat unto Himself.  Meaning, that in the finalized analysis, God the Father emptied Himself, took on the mortal flesh of humankind, and named that human flesh, Jesus.

What was Jesus like pre-incarnation?
Exodus 34:18-23…And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

Exodus 40:34-35…Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

II Chronicles 7:1-4…Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD.

Jesus gave Peter, James and John a sample of His pre-incarnated self.

Matthew 17:1-2…And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

Mark 9:1-3…And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.

Matthew 26:51-54…And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. [52] Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. [53] Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? [54] But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

The Bible tells us in I John 3:1-3, when we who are true born again believers see Jesus at the pre-tribulational Rapture of the Church, that we will see Him as He truly is.

I John 3:1-3…Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

What will believers see at that moment?  What does Jesus look like today?

Revelation 1:10-20…I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.  And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

Revelation 19:11-16…And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

This is what our Lord and Savior refused to exercise in order to come to this earth, suffer, bleed and die for the sins of a lost humankind.

PHILIPPIANS 2:7
[7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
[7]  all eauton ekenwsen morfhn doulou labwn en omoiwmati anqrwpwn genomenoV

KENOSIS:  In Philippians 2:7, the Greek word, which gives us the English word kenosis is the Greek word kenow/kenoo.  At times, some Greek scholars/theologians will use the Greek word kenoV/kenos.  Either Greek word is one-in-the-same.  It means to empty one’s own self of all vanity and self pride.  It would mean to void one’s own self of any personal goals and agendas in exchange for the purposes of one greater than they.  Case in point, a slave wanting only to please their master irregardless of the consequences which may befall the slave.

It would mean to neutralize one’s own self through self-abatement.  It is the act of making one’s self of none effect or of no reputation in an effort to honor the wishes of the one in the position of higher authority.  To empty one’s own life in order that he may live unto the life of the person of the higher authority.  It can also mean to desolate one’s self or to take the lowly position.

In the final analysis, kenoV/kenos can be summed up in one word.  That one word is exercise.  Jesus, who never ceased to be God at any moment whilst on this earth, chose to humble Himself to the will of the Heavenly Father, and refused to exercise His onboard powers of Divine Deity.  We see this in Matthew chapter 4 when Jesus was tempted of the devil.

Other Bible verses where the Greek word kenoV/kenos is utilized:

Acts 4:25…Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?

I Corinthians 15:10…But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

I Corinthians 15:58…Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Ephesians 5:6…Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Colossians 2:8…Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

James 4:5…Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

It is a call on the part of the Apostle for all true born again believers to put aside all false human motives such as deceit, cunning, self-seeking and most of all, pride.  It is a call for all believers to grow in the true Holiness of the Heavenly Father and not the pseudo-righteousness which is possible among some Church members.

In Christology, kenoV/kenos would have to do with Jesus wilfully, with knowledge aforethought,  refusing to exercise all rights and privileges thereof, of His own Divine Deity.  While at the same time, maintaining all of His own Deity with all rights and privileges thereof.

Matthew 26:50-54…And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

John 18:4-8…Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:

John 19:9-11…And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

The Doctrine of the Kenosis of Jesus Christ, means that the Creator allowed the creation to crucify His flesh in order to fulfill the will of the Heavenly Father in the price of the redemption of all mankind.

The very best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself.  Isaiah 53 explains in meticulous detail the Kenosis of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 53:1-12…Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Romans 8:3…For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

What we do learn from these verses, is that Jesus came to this earth, in the form of sinful man.  This does not mean that Jesus was sinful.  But that He was manifested the form of sinful man.

Hebrews 4:15…For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

II Corinthians 5:21…For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

During His earthly sojourn,  Jesus refused to exercise His Divine Deity and He took on the form of servitude. Jesus truly became man.  Not merely in outward appearance but in thought and feeling.  He who was the full image of the very God became the full image of man.  For in His humanity, Christ differed from all other men by virtue of His consistent obedience unto the Heavenly Father and His Holy Word.  It is thus stated in Philippians 2:7, that Christ changed His form and assumed an appearance which made Him like men.  Thus Divinity enters history in such a way which explains John 1:14.  The Apostle does not say, with any clarity, how far the being of Christ was affected by this change. But in His role as man, He accomplished what no other man could have ever imagined to have accomplished.  A perfect obedience which leads to the ultimate conclusion. That even as man, He remained at the core of His being, what He had been before creation and all during His earthly assignment.  The very God.

Psalms 8:4-6…What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

This does not mean that Jesus surrendered any of His attributes of Deity.  For in order for the redemption of mankind to be precipitated on the cross, Deity, in full, would have had to die on that cross.  What this does mean, is that Jesus willfully and voluntarily took on the restrictive limitations of a human body.  Meaning that He would have had to place a curtain over His own glory, and chose not to exercise many of His prerogatives of Deity.

Far too many times, kenosis is misunderstood because it is made far more difficult than it has to be.  Kenosis has nothing to do with the Deified attributes of Jesus.  It has to do with the human part of Him.  It has to do with Jesus laying His own personal will to the side and living only unto the will of the Heavenly Father.

Jesus never stopped being God.  He always remained omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.  He always maintained His Divine Holiness and righteousness.  Jesus never stopped being Deity.  His constant was to always, at all times, remain unencumbered by space, time and dimension.

Looking back to what the Apostle was speaking of in verses 1-4, he was speaking of we who are believers, denying the flesh it’s own desires and lusts, and being at one with each other in the Assembly.  Assisting each other and building each other up. Not ever destroying each other.

Paul tells us that Jesus is our prime example of this.  That though He was, is and always will be Deity, He kept His flesh under control.

Jesus’ first and foremost thought was to engage Himself into the will of the Heavenly Father.

John 4:34…Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

John 6:38-40…For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Matthew 26:39…And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Matthew 26:42…He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

Mark 14:36…And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

Luke 22:42…Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

In John chapter 18, we see kenosis in a practical application.

In Exodus chapter 3, Moses has been in exile on the backside of the desert for quite some years.  Now, the Heavenly Father appears to him, telling him that it is now time for him to return to Egypt and rescue the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and slavery.

In Exodus 3:13, Moses asks God, that when the Israelites ask him who sent him, what is he to tell them?

Exodus 3:13…And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

God gives Moses His answer in Exodus 3:14.
Exodus 3:14…And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

With this thought in mind, let us move forward to John chapter 18.   We see in John 18:5-8, that when the Jewish authorities came to arrest Jesus, Jesus asked them who where they seeking.  We see in these verses, that Jesus told them I am He.  However, in a closer look, the English word He is in italics.  Meaning, that He was added by the KJV translators to help readers understand the scenario better.  Jesus actually said the words…”I AM!”  We also see that when He said the words “I AM,” that all of His captors fell to the ground.

John 18:5-8…They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:

To further understand kenosis, look at what Jesus says to Pilate in John 19:10-11.

John 19:10-11…Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?  Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

In John 17, Jesus Himself gives to us a definitive definition of kenosis.  In this chapter. Jesus Himself tells us what He temporarily suspended.

John 17:5…And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Jesus refused to exercise the fullness of the majesty of His self-identity as God.  Jesus refused to exercise Exodus 33:18-23.  He refused to exercise Exodus 40:34-35.  He refused to exercise II Chronicles 7:1-3.  Jesus refused to exercise Ezekiel chapters 1-3.

Jesus refused to exercise everything that would  encumber Him from going to the cross and there die for the sins of all mankind.  And yet, retain all Deity, whereby, He would be the very God, in flesh, dying on the cross.

In order to understand kenosis, you must address it as you would any other theology/doctrine of the Bible.  You must address it in light of the cross and the blood which our Savior shed on that cross, the Salvation that he died for on that cross, the empty tomb, the fact that Jesus is coming again very soon, and the fact that Jesus wants every man, woman, boy and girl on this planet to be saved and in Heaven with Him.  And the fact that Jesus, in His Divine determination to fully execute the Holy will of His Heavenly Father, laid to the side any/every encumbrance that would have hindered Him from His Divinely appointed destiny on the cross.

Our Heavenly Father came to this earth in the flesh of a man.  Knowing in full understanding, that the cross was His destiny.  What love.  What tremendous love which defies human description.

PHILIPPIANS 2:8
[8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
[8] kai schmati eureqeiV wV anqrwpoV etapeinwsen eauton genomenoV uphkooV mecri qanatou qanatou de staurou

The willful obedience of Jesus on the cross is exemplary of obedience unto the Heavenly Father.  Because of Jesus’ obedience unto the Heavenly Father, this makes Him the author and the finisher of our faith. To the point, that without Jesus Christ, there is no faith.

It is the Apostle Paul who is the first to establish a definitive theology of the cross of Christ.  The Apostle is not so much concerned with the historical aspect of the crucifixion as much as he is with the spiritual significance of it.  In these verses, the Apostle wishes to confine the reader’s attention to the obedience of Jesus irregardless of the cost to His own person.  The death on the cross was the lowest stage of Christ’ humiliation which consummated our Savior’s obedience to the will of the Heavenly Father.  In obedience to the will of the Heavenly Father, Christ concluded the work of man’s redemption.

What Jesus is demonstrating, is that our Heavenly Father is not interested in one’s looks, talents or personality.  What He is interested in, is one’s humble obedience before the Heavenly Father.  Our Heavenly Father is looking for broken, crushed, submissive and subjugated slaves.

Psalms 40:6-8…Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.  Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Jesus was obedient unto the Father before death and He remained obedient during death.  The love of God’s redemption from eternity past was now complete and consummated by the Theanthropic Son. His humanity always remained in constant obedience.  On that day, on the cross, what man saw as a catastrophic loss, was Heaven’s moment of a glorious and victorious triumph.

John 10:18…No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Romans 5:19…For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Hebrews 5:8…Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Hebrews 12:2…Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus allowed Himself to be obediently subjugated to the most horrifying and humiliating form of execution of His day.

I Corinthians 1:23…But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

I Corinthians 2:2…For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

I Peter 2:24…Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

The greatest challenge ever issued to mankind came from the lips of Jesus Himself.  It is a verse which requires no commentary nor explanation.  It is all inclusive and self explanatory. That verse is Matthew 11:11.

Matthew 11:11…Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

John 15:13-14…Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

I John 3:16…Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

PHILIPPIANS 2:9
[9] Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
[9]  dio kai o qeoV auton uperuywsen kai ecarisato autw onoma to uper pan onoma

These verses give us the 7 exaltations of Jesus:
1.  God has highly exalted Him vs. 9; Eph. 1:21
2.  God has given Him a name that is above every name vs. 9
3.  At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow to Him vs. 10
4.  Everything in Heaven vs. 10
5.  Everything in the earth vs. 10
6.  Everything under the earth vs. 10
7.  Every tongue will confess His Lordship to the glory of God the Father vs.11

Hebrews 2:9…But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Revelation 3:21…To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Because of Jesus’ obedience to the will of the Heavenly Father, the Father has granted to the Son sovereignty over all creation.

What we can glean from these verses, is that the way to the heart of the Heavenly Father, is through the act of obedience.

PHILIPPIANS 2:10
[10] That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
[10] ina en tw onomati ihsou pan gonu kamyh epouraniwn kai epigeiwn kai katacqoniwn

What we see at the crucifixion, is creation attempting to murder the Creator.  However, because of the obedience of Jesus to the will of the Heavenly Father, now all creation must bow to the Son in humble adoration.

Isaiah 45:23…I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

PHILIPPIANS 2:11
[11] And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
[11] kai pasa glwssa exomologhshtai oti kurioV ihsouV cristoV eiV doxan qeou patroV

In this verse, you see the characterization of Paul as being a slave unto the person of Jesus Christ.

John 13:13…Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

Revelation 5:13…And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Revelation 4:7-11…And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

We need to stop and remember how that Philippians 2:1-11 started.  In verses 1-4, Paul was addressing the need within the Church for believers to speak the same mind, heart and spirit.  Jesus taught us that true Godly humility is an extension of our daily walk before the Heavenly Father.

Jesus lived for the will of His Father in Heaven. Jesus taught us that true joy is when we empty ourselves of our own agendas and desires, and live only unto the desires and plans of our Father in Heaven.  Irregardless of the cost.

Psalms 122:6…Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

Psalms 126:5-6…They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

May our Heavenly Father bless you so very richly in His deep and abiding love.

CARL WHORLEY, ASSOCIATE PASTOR
LIGHTHOUSE BAPTIST CHURCH
LEWISTOWN,  MONTANA

Thanks Carl for sharing such a great study. Everyone keep studying!. www.biblestudiesonline.co.uk

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This entry was posted on October 7, 2011 by in Bible Fellowship, Bible studies, Bible study, God, Jesus Christ, Living Word Magazine, Theology.
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