Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV)
The reason the incarnation bothers us so much is because it takes the idea of turning power structures upside down to a much deeper level. Not only does the Trinity turn our world upside down in Itself, but when God became a man, He humbled Himself and put Himself at the mercy of His created beings. God was basically giving us a free shot at Himself and begging us to take it. He came before a people who were themselves denying God and stood in their midsts as Himself.
This bothers us because it means that, in a way, even God submitted Himself to us. He “made himself nothing” is how the Bible puts it.
For starters, this says something about our humanity. To God, being a man was nothing. In a sense worthless. God left behind His glory and dominion and power and chose to wash the feet of fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes, and lepers. The very people He commanded His people to separate from, He came and conversed with, ate with, and even drank wine with. And then went the extra mile and washed their feet and even died at their hands as thought He were an every day, run-of-the-mill heretic and political dissenter.
But what does this say about power structures? It confronts them at their very core. If even God is willing to reverse roles and wash the feet of those who should be washing His, then we should be doing the same. We should wash the feet of those who should be under us. Of course, as we hinted at last time, there should be no over/under hierarchy. We should “Place [ourselves] under each other’s authority out of respect for Christ.”
This is no easy task for us humans as we are all fallen and messed up. But, “out of respect for Christ,” we are called to do it anyway. But isn’t that the beauty of the Christian walk?