“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”—Philippians 2:10–11 (NKJV)
An interesting thing to note here is the translation of the phrase “at the name of Jesus.” The most proper translation of this phrasing in the Greek would actually be “in the name of Jesus.” This picture is one of ancient significance. It harkens back to passages in the Old Testament that refer to God and are here applied in the New Testament to Jesus. “In the name” is a phrase that is constantly used for the worship of God. And the idea of the bowing of the knee actually expresses paying homage, respect, and adoration.
So, in the name of Jesus, or as theologian John Gill put it, “in and by reason of the power, authority, and dignity of Jesus, as exalted at God’s right hand, every creature is to be subject to him . . .” The meaning here is that Jesus Christ was so exalted and lifted up by God there is a time soon coming where all people, all being on earth, in heaven, and even those beneath would acknowledge that Jesus is Lord.
It’s interesting that Paul mentions “those under the earth” (Romans 14:9–11; Ephesians 4:9–10; Revelation 5:13), among whom Jesus was once numbered. Many scholars also believe that this phrase is meant to also include demons and the lost, as all will one day acknowledge that Jesus is Lord—though the homage given by this group is not one of love, but of fear as seen in Mark 3:11 and Luke 8:31.
The grand point Paul was making here was that the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), the firstborn over all creation, God in the flesh humbled Himself and gave up His divine privileges to live among us, accomplish the perfection of life we never could, take upon Himself our punishment, achieve victory over sin, and conquer death. And because of this humility, God gave Him the title of Savior, and at His name all will bow. Thus, humility is of high value to the Lord. It is the quality that most closely brings us to His throne and the thing that most clearly reflects His heart in us.
1. What does this verse mean to you and how does it cause you to think differently about the future?
2. In what specific ways is the message of your life declaring that Jesus is Lord?