The Humility of the Servant (Phil 2:5)



Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5)


Paul has been telling the Philippians to complete his joy by “being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart and thinking one thing” (2). He then puts before them the example of Christ, the new Adam, who did not try to be equal with God — that would have been hubris — although he already had the form of God. Rather, he emptied himself and took on the form of a Servant. He was Son of Man, obedient to the Father, obedient like a slave, even unto death. The hymn alludes to Christ’s Servanthood, to the humility he had before God — something that even Israel in the desert did not have. Just as Paul had already taken upon himself the wounds of the Servant of the Lord, so too, he asks the Philippians to be like him in showing forth the qualities of the Servant: in humility, in mutual love, in unity of mind and heart.


Phil. 2:6-11 has been a classic “locus” for the theme of Christ’s humility in the Incarnation. His self-emptying has been the example of the Christian’s dying to self as he lives out his baptismal vows. Placed within an admonition to Christian unity, it highlights the virtue of humility in community living. In fact, it is a sine qua non in Christian community living.


Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
and teaches the humble his way.
(Ps. 25:14)

Lord, give me a humble heart that I may be able to live the way you want me to.


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