Emptied Himself

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, ??who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,?? but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form.?? Philippians 2:5-7 (ESV)

In the first blog, we looked at one word.?? In this second blog, we???ll also look at one word.?? In the ESV it???s translated ???emptied himself??? in the NIV it???s ???made himself nothing???.?? The word is kenosis.

In text emphasizes that Christ did this to himself.?? It was voluntary.?? He emptied himself.?? He was not emptied.?? He made himself nothing.?? He was not made nothing by someone else.?? The eternal Son willingly choose to become human.

The text also clarifies what this means by three adverbial phrases.?? Taking the form of a servant.?? Being born in the likeness of men.?? And being found in human form.?? Notice the repetition of the word form.?? Although he was in the form of God he took the form of a servant, the form of a man.?? Or as we saw in the last blog, because he was in the form of God he took the form or a servant, the form of a man.

Kenosis is incarnation.?? The eternal Son emptied himself, made himself nothing by becoming a human being, by being born.?? It's good to pause here and reflect on how incredible the incarnation is.?? It's hard to believe that God would willingly lower himself to our level.?? Who would do such a thing??? The God we worship.

This everyone agrees with.?? But there is debate.?? Jesus Christ is fully God.?? Jesus Christ is fully human.?? But how exactly does that work??? Some argue that Jesus divested himself of some divine attributes to become fully human.?? Others argue that Jesus didn???t divest himself of any divine attributes so as to remain fully God.

I???m inclined towards the former.?? For one thing, Jesus divested himself of all-presence.?? God is spirit and present everywhere, but Jesus Christ had a body located in time and space.?? If Jesus was in Nazereth, he wasn???t in Jerusalem.?? And instead of thinking that Jesus retained omniscience and omnipotence, I???d prefer to think he relied on the Holy Spirit to reveal and empower him.?? And so when Jesus says he does not know the day or hour of his return, I think he means he does not know the day or hour of his return.?? And I???d prefer to think Jesus was like us in everyway, except without sin.

But it???s always difficult to figure out exactly how Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human simultaneously.?? If Jesus is not fully God, we???re in big trouble.?? If Jesus is not fully human, we???re in big trouble.?? Thankfully for us he???s both.

And ultimately we don???t have to figure out how.?? The fact of the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basis of our faith.?? It happened.?? We don???t have to fully understand it and we never will.?? But I do like to try.?? ????

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One Comment on “Emptied Himself”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is really great stuff Vince! It is really fun to get to enjoy the fruits of your class on this end — without all the hard work and Greek participles! We are blessed to have a pastor and leader like you!


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