Responding to Christ’s Exaltation

Last Sunday, Pastor Ken Lewis began our Christmas series: God Does the Impossible, with a sermon from Luke 1:26-38. Through Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel, we learned that God does the impossible; therefore, we should worship, trust, and obey him.

Read: Luke 1:39-56

This Sunday, Pastor Ken will continue with this account in Luke 1:39-56, and we will further consider the mystery of how God uses the humblest of means and ordinary people to accomplish his magnificent, glorious plan of saving the world. As Mary considered this very truth, she erupted into praise, magnifying the Lord and rejoicing in the God of her salvation. As you prepare your heart for gathering with the body, let this devotional from John MacArthur lead you to join Mary in the only appropriate response to the Lord Jesus Christ: worship.

Reflect: “Responding to Christ’s Exaltation”

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow … and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Philippians 2:10–11

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The proper response to Christ’s exaltation is to worship Him.

Philippians 2:10–11 gives the only proper response to Christ’s exaltation: everyone is to bow before Him and acknowledge Him as Lord. Verse 10 begins with the Greek word hina (“that”), which indicates purpose or result. God’s express purpose is that Christ’s exaltation will result in our worshiping Him. We might translate the sentence, “He was given the name that is above every name in order that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” The reason Christ was given the name Lord was to put Him in authority and cause everyone to bow to Him. The subjunctive mood (“every knee should bow”) implies that every knee will bow.

Christ is to be acknowledged as Lord because He is God. By God’s grace some are enabled to acknowledge Christ’s lordship by choice. Others will bow to Him because they are forced to do so. The phrases “every knee should bow” (v. 10) and “every tongue should confess” (v. 11) are taken from Isaiah 45:23. Isaiah 45–46 clearly establishes that God is Lord and sovereign. He is in charge. In Philippians, Paul affirms the same truth about Jesus Christ—every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord of all.

We know Christ as the Lord, and we know Him as Jesus—the names of His exaltation and humiliation. But He must be known as both in order to be known at all. One receives the gift of salvation by receiving both the humiliated Savior and by bowing the knee to a majestic, sovereign God.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Psalm 89 focuses on the rule and reign of Christ. Bow before Him as the exalted King by using verses 8–18 as the basis of your own prayer of worship.

For Further Study: Read Revelation 5:11–14. What is Christ worthy to receive? ✧ In verse 13 who is speaking? ✧ What was the response of the four living creatures and elders (v. 14)?

“Responding to Christ’s Exaltation,” December 23rd Devotional in Strength for Today, by John MacArthur.

Sing: Song List for Sunday

1. “Sing We the Song of Emmanuel,” by Matt Boswell
2. “Who Would Have Dreamed,” by Sovereign Grace Music
3. “O, Come All Ye Faithful,” Arr. Chris Tomlin

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