Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
"Therefore God has highly exalted him." Wherefore has God highly exalted Jesus? Because, "though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him." The Father loves the Son because he is obedient. The Father has an infinite delight in the Son because the Son esteemed the Father so highly that he chose to die the worst of deaths rather than forsake the Father's assignment. The Father loves to exalt the humble. "For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly" (Psalm 138:6). "Thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: 'I dwell in a high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit'" (Isaiah 57:15).
God Favors the Humble
This is the law of heaven which Jesus taught on earth: "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:11). And it is fitting that the one who humbled himself most deeply, the one whose obedience cost the greatest imaginable self-denial, should be most highly exalted. Therefore, therefore God has highly exalted him. And in that little word, there is a mandate for some of you to deny yourselves and take up your cross and follow Jesus and give away your lives for the sake of the nations who know not God. Why could Hudson Taylor say, after a lifetime of toil and suffering in China, "I never made a sacrifice"? Because he understood the "therefore" of Philippians 2:9. "If we suffer with him, we shall be glorified with him" (Romans 8:17). There is the power to leave a lucrative career. There's the power to say farewell to family and friends. There's the power to agonize with a new language and new culture. There's the power to keep on and keep on and keep on in sickness and obscurity while most of your classmates back home have bought their nice houses and started their families and scarcely remember your name. The power to be a missionary and stay a missionary is in the "therefore" of Philippians 2:9.
"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him a name which is above every name." What name did Jesus receive after his resurrection that he did not have before? Not "Jesus." Jesus is precisely the name of the humble Servant who went to Calvary. In Acts 2:36 Peter says, "Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." It was his lordship and Messiahship—his messianic lordship—that was bestowed on him at his exaltation. Not that he wasn't Messiah and Lord before his resurrection. He was. But he had not fulfilled the mission of Messiah until he had died for our sin and risen again. And therefore, before his death and resurrection, the lordship of Christ over the world had not been brought to full actuality. The rebel forces were yet undefeated, and the power of darkness held the world in its grip. In order to be acclaimed Messiah and Lord, the Son of God had to come, defeat the enemy, and lead his people out of bondage in triumph over sin and Satan and death. And that he did on Good Friday and Easter.
It says in 1 John 3:8, "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." And in Hebrews 2:14, 15, it says, "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage." When Jesus died on the cross, making atonement by his blood for our sins, Satan was defeated. Christ disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in the cross (Colossians 2:15). The sting of death was removed, the power of sin was broken, and the triumph of the Church was secured. In its march to victory the gates of hell cannot withstand it (Matthew 16:18).
The name that is above every name, therefore, is Lord—the Lord victorious over all his enemies; the Lord who has purchased a people from every tribe and tongue and nation. At the end of the age, when the mission of the Church reaches its glorious conclusion, the name of Jesus will be sounded around the world, and at that name every knee will bow, whether of angels in heaven, or of the living on the earth, or of the dead under the earth—every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Believers and unbelievers will acknowledge in that day that Jesus has triumphed over every enemy—believers, to their everlasting joy, and unbelievers, to their everlasting shame.
CHARIOTS OF FIRE
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon Israel's mountains green?
And did the Christ of heaven come down?
Was God in flesh both heard and seen?
And did He die to prove His love?
And did He rise more pow'rful still?
And was His rule on earth started there
Upon Golgotha's tragic hill?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of Fire!
I will not cease to spread His light;
My faith a shield, His Word my sword;
'Til Christ, my God, is crowned as King,
And all the earth shall own Him Lord.