Thought for Thursday

But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:7

The last-century evangelist and temperance preacher Billy Sunday used to say that a man’s reputation was what his neighbours know about him, but his character is what God and his wife know about him. This description helps us to understand the stoop that the Lord Jesus made when He came into this world. He never laid aside His holy divine character, but He did lay aside His reputation.

When we say that He made Himself of no reputation, we refer to the setting aside of His reputation in Heaven. As the Son, He was worshipped by angelic beings, and was an active participant in all the workings of the Godhead. All Heaven acknowledged His lordship; His was the highest reputation in those celestial spheres. That was the reputation that He set aside for a time when He stepped into humanity. It was His heavenly reputation that the angels proclaimed to Bethlehem’s shepherds. But it was as the carpenter’s son that the folks in Nazareth knew Him. It was the Christ of God who the disciples acknowledged as they followed him, but it was the lowly Galilean Who was arrested and hauled before Caiphas and Pilate. It was as the Lord that He was received by one malefactor but as a false Christ that He was cursed by the other malefactor. It was as their Master and Teacher that Joseph and Nicodemus laid Jesus in the sepulchre, but as an imposter that the soldiers closed the sepulchre with the Roman seal.

So little of the world today places any reputation on the Lord Jesus. So few acknowledge all that He is and was and ever will be. So few accord to Him any reputation but that of a religious teacher, an obscure figure of history. But a few do acknowledge His true reputation today.

Isaiah tells us that He will be exalted and extolled and be made very high (Isaiah 52:13). This is the portion of every believer who appreciates what was accomplished when Jesus made Himself of no reputation. -Jim MacIntosh

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