During his earthly ministry, Jesus Christ had tremendous status spiritually. He was the only begotten Son of God, he never sinned, and he could have had more than twelve legions of angels at his call. This impressive status that was enjoyed by Jesus Christ never resulted in him acting selfishly. He never attempted to use his position as the Son of God for selfish gain. Rather, he made himself of no reputation and took upon himself the form of a servant.
In the Eastern culture, a son is viewed as being equal to his father. Any time that Jesus Christ claimed God as his Father, he put himself on a par with God. It did not make him God, but it gave him many of the same privileges as God.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.
Jesus Christ thought it not robbery, or a prize to be used for one’s own purposeful gain, for himself to be equal with God. However, although Jesus Christ was not slack to claim his identity as the Son of God, he was humble and submitted to God’s will.
Jesus Christ humbled himself to the point of claiming that by himself he could do nothing (John 5:30). He chose the life of a common man—a common man who was so humble that he was obedient unto death.
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Jesus Christ made himself of no reputation. The four English words “made…of no reputation” are translated from one Greek word, kenoō, which literally means “to make empty.” Here in Philippians 2:7, it is used in a figurative sense. Jesus Christ “emptied himself,” and he “took upon him the form of a servant.” He chose the lifestyle of a servant—he lived as a servant, going where God wanted him to go. The Word of God is the will of God, and so it was the will of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:8 says of Jesus, “he humbled himself.” As we saw in Philippians 2:6, he was not shy about claiming his identity as God’s Son. He thought it was not robbery to be equal with God. This was not a man with low self-esteem! However, Jesus didn’t use this sonship to exalt himself above anyone else either.
Instead of choosing to preside in glorified status as the Son of the Almighty God, Jesus chose the lifestyle of a common man. From his youth, he worked as a carpenter. Then during his ministry, Jesus spent a lot of time traveling so that he could reach more people with God’s Word. In Luke 9:58 he told one of his followers, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head,” referring to the fact that he did not have a wife or his own home to go back to at the end of the day or a long journey. He lived his life to move among the people. Jesus Christ was the ultimate servant, both to God and to his fellow man.
Jesus Christ is the greatest example of an obedient servant that we as disciples can have. He accomplished this by setting aside his own will and by fully committing himself to the will of his Father, God. Jesus Christ put aside his own will, put on God’s will, and therefore he became a servant of the highest caliber.