Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! – Philippians 2:6-8
Tim and Tom were equals. If you asked them they’d agree and anyone else would have the same conclusion. They were hired on at the company the same day, they’d made an equal number of sales and had made the same amount of money for the company as the other. They were equals.
Which is what made it puzzling when Tim was promoted and Tom wasn’t. Tom felt underappreciated, undervalued. They were equals but they were not treated that way.
We tend to be OK when people more skilled than us move up in their particular field. That’s the way it’s supposed to work! The better musician sits in the first chair, the better athlete makes the team or the starting lineup. But when it’s our equal that gets the special treatment, that’s when the “unfair” alarms in our head start to go off. We think we deserve fair treatment and when we sense treatment that is less than fair, we get upset and feel abused.
It’s really our sinful nature that demands that we receive equal treatment. We puff ourselves up with pride and can’t imagine anyone seeing anything in us that is less than the best. We bloat with pride and arrogance and think that everyone else is inferior. And often that pride impacts the way we look at God and the way that we think God should look at us. We feel better than others and think that God should feel the same way.
But the sad reality is that we are all sinful. There is no one better than anyone else–we are all equal–equally sinful, equally deserving of death and hell.
But God sent one who was not our equal. Jesus was far better than us in every way. He was better than everyone and equal to God the Father, yet he set that rightful equality aside and became like us. He became like a servant and placed himself under us, under our laws, under our temptations. He gave up heaven to come to our earth and suffer our hell in our place. He lived a perfectly holy life, and yet wasn’t filled with pride about his accomplishments. Though he was the one who could rightfully boast about what he had done, he didn’t. Instead he quietly went about the work of being the world’s Savior. He humbled himself even to the cross for our sins, even to death to save us. And he did it to show his love.
For the times when we are prideful, we have a humble Savior. For the times that we are full of ourselves, we have a God who emptied himself for us. For the times when we are weak, we have a Savior who is strong—strong to save.