Obedient To Death

Welcome back everyone to the Deeper Waters blog. Tonight, we are continuing what has been titled a Trinitarian commentary on the New Testament. We are in the epistle to the Philippians at the moment and in the beautiful hymn in Chapter 2. Tonight, we are going to examine verse 8 of that passage:

8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Being found in appearance of a man points us back to the verse from yesterday. We said this is not denying that Jesus was fully human but rather indicated that to the people in the time period he lived, he seemed like an ordinary human. My Smallville obsession at this point is thinking that Clark Kent would be a good example of this as to the average onlooker, he would be just a man. To anyone else however who knows him, he is not just a man but is rather a superhero with the appearance of a man. (I will admit I do have a concern with the analogy as I sometimes debate back and forth if Clark Kent is truly human or not.)

There are different views on what this means. Some people think it refers to the Son of Man passage in Daniel 7. That just doesn’t strike me as plausible since Jesus certainly didn’t have the appearance of the Son of Man when he walked this Earth. Others however believe that it could refer to being like Adam, which to me makes much more sense as Jesus is the second Adam.

An interesting idea has been put forward that the idea of being obedient to death admits of the deity of this being. For other creatures that have a material component, death is not a choice. It is a necessity eventually. However, Jesus is described as one who was obedient to death.

Jesus could have avoided death at any time, but instead, he willingly underwent it. That was how far he was able to go in his obedience to the Father. His obedience was such a level where he did whatever the Father desired of him. Keep in mind that Jesus did ask if the cup could pass through him in the garden. If there was any other way, Jesus would have desired it, but he took the way that the Father had made.

It wasn’t just any death either. It was death on a cross. If you were a good Jew, death on a cross meant that you were being cut off from the covenant of God, which is what every Jew would have realized when Jesus was crucified. Since he died that kind of death, then there was no way that he could be the Messiah.

Yet Jesus was the Messiah and he went all the way to show it. As we will continue this passage, we will see how the Father responds, but the point is still relevant to Paul’s main reason for bringing this up. This is the kind of love Christians are to have for one another. Are we that obedient to God to love in such a way?

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