“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” (Philippians 2:9–11).
CHRIST’S HUMILIATION WAS FOLLOWED A FEW WEEKS LATER BY HIS EXALTATION. The writer of Hebrews pointed his brethren to the example of Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). This is a reference to the prophecy of David in Psalm 110:1, a prophecy alluded to several times in the New Testament and always linked to the ascension of Jesus back to heaven following His resurrection: “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).
In Philippians 2:9, Paul said that “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” The majestic rule of Jesus as God’s Son exceeds that of any other power or authority “in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” As Jesus Himself said on the occasion when He commissioned His apostles to preach the gospel of God’s forgiveness in His name, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20).
Paul said that God has given this authority to His Son so that “every knee should bow . . . and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” The gospel now invites us to accept our Lord’s rule voluntarily and lovingly. If we refuse to do so, the time will come when He will return and bring the history of this world to a close. At that time, the reality of His rule will be unavoidable and there will be none who do not confess the truth. But if we have not done so before that day of judgment, it will be too late for our acknowledgement to save us. In reality, Christ is the Lord. But will we accept His lordship? That is what the gospel asks us to decide.
“If Shakespeare should come into this room, we would all rise; but if Jesus Christ should come in, we would all kneel” (Charles Lamb).