“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.”—Philippians 2:9 (NKJV)
As we see here, Jesus—who humbled Himself, was obedient to the Father, and suffered the ultimate humiliation and death— was in turn highly exalted above all others. God bestowed upon Him a title above all titles: the honor and majesty of being the Savior of the human race. More specifically, the name of Jesus becomes “the name which is above every name.”
If there is one thing we can glean with certainty from the above verse, it’s that God exalts the humble. The word exalt (huperupsoó, which is the only occurrence of this word in the entire New Testament) speaks of being elevated beyond and put exceedingly to the highest possible level. Why does God exalt the humble? Because God loves humility and hates pride. He wants us to be humble, to follow the example set by His Son. The problem is that pride constantly gets in the way. Augustine of Hippo once said, “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”
Pride and selfishness, self-ambition, separates us from God. Our moments of pride and selfishness are the moments we are furthest from the Lord. It hides God’s image in us and brings out ugliness. It directly led to the fall of mankind. Consider Jesus’ dealings with the Pharisees, who indignantly put themselves above others. The reason Jesus spoke so sternly to these men is because God does not stand for pride, He opposes it! In fact, in Romans 2:8 (NLT) we read, “But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves . . .” James 4:6 (NLT) says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
In today’s verse, Paul tells us that God highly exalted Jesus and gave Him the name that is above every name because Jesus humbled Himself and put humanity first. The lesson Paul is teaching the Philippians is that when you follow the example of Jesus and esteem others above yourself, God sees it and blesses you for it. You may not experience the rewards in the present— remember Jesus was exalted above all after ascending to heaven—but in the end, your humility and servant-heartedness will reap a harvest. And on the other side of the spectrum, in the end, the prideful will be humbled at their judgment.
1. God has highly exalted Jesus. Where is Jesus in your own list of priorities and how are you exalting Him?
2. What might be keeping Jesus from being first in your life?