Fast forward from Isaiah 61:1-2a to a Sabbath morning in the small village of Nazareth. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to the son of Joseph, the village carpenter. He unrolled it and read, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” The Messiah stopped midsentence, sat down, and declared, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” The Trinity was proclaimed in the first eight words of verse 1, the Spirit, Sovereign Lord, and me (the Messiah). Christ was anointed for his first earthly ministry to provide salvation, freedom, and healing.
For those who have accepted Christ’s “garments of salvation,” He wrapped us in a “robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). Imagine that! We wear a robe of righteous! We say things we should not say, we go places we should not go, and we act in unsightly manners, yet, He still wraps a robe of righteousness around us.
And to the Philippians, who Christ wrapped in a robe of righteousness, Paul passionately pleads: “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (Philippians 2:1-4, MSG).
And why were the Philippians to live like this? So they would have the attitude of Christ who “made himself nothing”; literally translated “He emptied himself” (Philippians 2:7). Humbly emptied himself of the advantages of his equal status with God to become an obedient human servant who died a cruel, contemptible death—“even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
How do we measure up to Him? The only way is by God “working in (us) to make (us) willing and able to obey him” (Philippians 2:13, CEV). God is working in us and desires that we willingly allow Him to form us into Christlikeness.
Question of the day: From the list of Christlike characteristics in Philippians 2:3-4, (see above starting with “Agree with each other…”), what characteristic(s) is/are lacking in your life? How about asking God to help you obey Him more fully?
Father, thank you for wrapping me in your robe of righteousness. May I rely on You to produce a self-sacrificing love in me, making me more agreeable with others, putting my desires aside to honor others, and helping me to take time to cheerfully serve others.