In Philippians 2:6-7, of what did Jesus empty himself in order to take the form of a servant?
Beginning in Philippians 2:4, Paul puts forth the Christian principle to put aside our own interests and serve others. Then he gives Jesus as the prime example of that humility and servanthood.
For many, this is a deeply theological passage concerning Jesus, called Christology. The most important thing to get out of it is that we take on the nature of Jesus in our own lives. Just as he offered himself as a servant, so also we offer ourselves as his servants to others.
Jesus is divine along with the Father and the Spirit in the Trinity. He has the form of divinity because he is divine. And yet, he doesn’t lord his divinity over us. He isn’t showing off. He uses his divinity to serve us. He came to earth for us.
Even though he could have claimed his place among the Godhead while he walked this earth, instead Jesus did not push his own divinity. Instead of acting in arrogance and pride he moved with humility.
When he came to earth, he emptied himself of his divinity so that he could serve each of us. We all know that he’s divine, but he doesn’t approach us that way. Instead, he exchanges his divinity, limits himself, so that he can be the servant of all.
Instead of resting in his divinity, Jesus took on the nature of a human being. He came to earth in humble means. He didn’t even come as the Prince of a king. Though Jesus can never die because he is divine, yet he became a human being and died the worst death on a cross for each of us. And God rewarded him by putting him on the throne and putting everything else under his authority.
Jesus gave up his divinity for a time, demonstrating only small aspects of what he really could do. And it was all for our benefit. So no matter what we think of ourselves as Christians, we must take on the nature of the servant in humility.