by Pastor Greg Laurie
The Emptying of Christ
Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. -Philippians 2:6-7
As Jesus knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed the words, "Yet not My will, but Yours be done," the Bible tells us that an angel from heaven came and strengthened Him (Luke 22:42-43). Scripture teaches that angels are ministering spirits sent forth to serve the Lord.
Probably the most difficult moment for the angels in heaven was watching the people mock, beat, and crucify their Lord. I am sure the angels would have gladly rushed to His aid at a moment's notice. Keep in mind the extreme power of angels. In the Old Testament, we read of one angel killing 185,000 people (see 2 Kings 19:35; Isaiah 37:36). So there at the cross are these powerful spirit-beings who desire nothing more than to come and deliver the Lord, but they were not permitted. The angels were not to intervene during this holy moment.
In Philippians 2:7, the Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus "emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant." But of what did He empty Himself? Jesus did not empty Himself of His deity. He was God before Bethlehem, as a child, as He hung on the cross, and as He rose from the dead. Jesus was and always is God. So Christ certainly did not lay aside His deity. What He did lay aside was some of His privileges. One of those privileges would have been angelic deliverance in such a moment as the Cross. Jesus chose to empty Himself of this divine privilege because of His desire to die for our sins. May we, like Christ, deny ourselves and take the form of humble servants.
Copyright (c) 2004 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright (c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.