In all of history, there has never been a king like Jesus. He holds no earthly crown or scepter. He covets no earthly throne or dominion. He kneels as a servant, welcomes children, touches the untouchable, and mingles with the outcasts. He came not be served, but to serve, and in his life provided the model for faithfulness to which every follower of his must forever aspire.
One of his followers was Paul, the “Apostle to the Gentiles”. Over the course of his ministry, Paul suffered many hardships and much persecution for the privilege of preaching the Gospel. Ultimately he was arrested and sent to Rome, where he became a martyr for the faith. It was while under arrest on his way to Rome that the church in Philippi expressed their deep love and concern for Paul, and their sense of hopelessness and grief at his circumstances.
Paul’s response—the Letter to Philippi we find in scripture—is a ringing testimonial to the faithfulness of Christ over his church, and the confidence we can have in Christ no matter our circumstances. Paul reminds the church that as individual believers, we come to Christ in profoundly personal ways…but our deeply personal faith is never private. For through our baptism we are incorporated into the Body of Christ, and through the promised Holy Spirit we are all being knit together so that our gifts and graces work in concert together.
Thus we bear one another’s burdens, rejoice in one another’s victories, and bolster one another in times of powerlessness and in the face of death. All of this is not by our own strength; it is the work of Christ in us and through us. Christ himself is transforming the world, having first redeemed in his own life and death. As we become like him—have his mind among us—he is completing his transforming work in our lives.
November 12, 2014