Tag Archives: Philippians

Putting on the Disguise

“They’ll need to see your face so they can see there’s no evil in it… To see the gentleness an decency in you… And know that they have nothing to fear. The mask– The mask is what you’ll have to wear the rest of the time.”

– Martha Kent, giving Clark his cape in Superman Earth One Volume 1.

Among superheroes, Superman has historically been a bit unique. Most superheroes—Spiderman, Batman, the Power Rangers—conceal who they really are when they are ‘on duty.’ Spiderman is just an alter ego to hide Peter Parker; Batman is just a symbol that serves to conceal Bruce Wayne; the Power Rangers are really high school kids. Superman, on the other hand, really is Superman. He puts on glasses, acts clumsy, and walks with poor posture to conceal his true identity. Clark Kent is the disguise; Superman is the reality. In recent years, it seems like a lot of superheroes have revealed their identity, but since his inception, Superman has been unique in this regard.

This reminds me of Someone…

…though he was in the form of God, [Jesus] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Phil. 2:6-7)

Jesus came as Clark Kent. Jesus was born in the likeness of weak men. He came not as a King, but as a servant. Is it any wonder we rejected Him? Is it any wonder we just didn’t seem to understand who He was? When Jesus came into this world, He modeled humility. But Jesus is coming back.

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Rev. 19:11-16).

When Jesus took the form of a lowly servant and washed the feet of His disciples, He was showing us how we are supposed to act; he was modeling our real identity. But He wasn’t showing us the full scope of His identity. Jesus was born as Clark Kent, but He shall return as Superman.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so 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. (Phil. 2:9-11)

Me. Me. Me!

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 NIV84)

For the modern American, there are few words that are more impossible to understand in their full depth and more unlikely to be applied in their full scope than the words “put others first.” (Although, “slower traffic keep right” is a close second; but doesn’t that require thinking of others?) From a young age, we are taught that we have to look out for number one in this dog-eat-dog world. Our entire culture encourages a mentality of self-centeredness and selfishness. These ideas are foreign to us: loving our neighbors; doing unto others as we would have them do unto us; thinking of others as more important than us. But they are the core of who God is slowly turning us into.

I pray that, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, I may grow in this area every day.

One of us

Joan Osborne once inanely crooned the question, “What if God was one of us?” She sang this as though it had never been answered. Well, if God was one of us, He would have come full of grace and truth (John 1:14), speaking the truth in love. He would have been a perfect, exact image of the Invisible God (Col 1:15). In our blindness we would have rejected Him (John 1:11, Colossians 1:21). Yet in His grace, He would have reconciled all things to Him through His blood on a cross and made peace between a rebellious people and a Holy God (Col 1:20). He would have done this to make us sinless, spotless, and blameless (Col 1:22). In fact, he would have gone so far as to give us the privilege to be call ourselves the children of a God against whom we had once rebelled (John 1:12). He would have, once and for all, delivered us from darkness to light (Col 1:13). He would have taught us what our Heavenly Father was like (John 1:18) because he has been with Him since eternity past (John 1:1).

How do I know all this? Because God was one of us! God did come down to earth. Because Joan Osborne’s question was answered almost 2 thousand years before she was ever born. Joan Osborne opens her song by asking, “If God had a name what would it be?” If God were one of us, His name would be Jesus. And, although He was equal with God the Father, he humbled Himself and became a servant (Philippians 2:6-7). He lived the life we were supposed to, paid the penalty we earned, conquered the death we deserved, rose from the grave by which we were imprisoned, and now grants us a gift we could never purchase:  reconciliation and peace with God. And one day, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14).