Monday, April 20, 2020

What taking the form of a servant looks like

We need to let the full implications of this statement sink in. Paul, a former member of the Jewish ruling council no less, whose learning was legendary, arrived in Thessalonica and worked away like a humble craftsperson. He would have looked like one as well, wearing a single set of clothes, carrying a few tools, dirty and bedraggled from his journey, and with little to no money in his belt. He could have showed up and asked for free meals and lodging. He could have insisted that his former hosts send him on in the manner to which he was accustomed, possibly in a rented carriage. A professional like him could demand to be paid a speaking fee. His rivals did. But he didn’t. He abandoned his cultural capital, lowering himself to the place where the Thessalonians lived, and became like one of them, so they could become like him (see Gal. 4:12). And this is just what we would expect. In another highly significant passage Paul says exactly the same thing about Jesus.
Christ Iesus . . . being in the form Of God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he emptied himself
by taking the form of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! (Phil. 2:6—8, NIV modified)
Paul: An Apostle’s Journey,57–58

<idle musing>
One can't help but make a comparison to many of today's megachurch pastors, with their expensive toys. But, as Jesus said, the last will be first and they have already received their reward. 'Nuff said.
</idle musing>

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