Why God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:…
In the former verses the Sun of Righteousness is eclipsed; here He shines forth in all His strength and splendour. The doctrine of Christ's humiliation leads you to Mount Calvary; but this doctrine leads you to Mount Olivet. There you may see Christ standing at the bar; here you see Him sitting on the throne.
I. THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST'S EXALTATION.
1. It pleased God that He who humbled Himself should be "made higher than the heavens," that He who appeared as a servant should now appear as the Lord of Glory. The word "highly exalted" is emphatic and singular; His exaltation was super superlative. Jesus Christ in His resurrection was exalted; in His ascension "highly exalted;" in His sitting at the right hand of God "very highly exalted above all exaltation." In His resurrection, He was exalted above the grave; in His ascension, above the earth; in His session, above the highest heavens. The steps of Christ's exaltation answered the steps of His humiliation.
(1) His incarnation is answerable to His resurrection, for by the first He was "manifest in the flesh" the Son of Man; by the second "declared to be the Son of God with power" (Romans 1:3-4).
(2) His poor, painful, and shameful life, and His painful and cursed death, is answerable to His ascension and sitting at the right hand of God. In the one He was disparaged, in the second honoured. In the disparagement He was lower than the angels; in the honour, far above them (Hebrews 1:5-13; Ephesians 1:20-22).
(3) His coming to judge the world answers His being judged by the world. The former is the completion of His exaltation as the latter was of His degradation (Isaiah 53; John 5:22-23). Jesus by His resurrection overcame His enemies (Hebrews 2:14); by His ascension triumphed over them (Corinthians 2:15); by His Judgeship He tries and condemns them. For the further demonstration of His exaltation note —
2. That God hath given Him a name that is above every name.
(1) What is to be understood by this name — the power, dignity, and authority with which Christ was invested.
(a) Sometimes name is put for glory and renown (Genesis 6:4; 1 Chronicles 5:24, Hebrews); thus Christ is invested with the glory of the only begotten of the Father(b) for the power and sovereignty by which Christ is King of nations and of saints (John 10:25; Acts 3:6; Acts 4:7). Of this He spake at the ascension (Matthew 28:18). And the glory of Christ's name is such that shall be celebrated through all ages (Luke 2:10-14; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 5:12).
(2) How hath Christ obtained a name above every name. This name is a demonstration of Christ's super-exaltation, and notes four things.
(a) That Jesus should be the only Saviour of the world (Acts 4:11-12).
(b) In that He is exalted to sit at the right hand of God, which is a name or honour angels never had (Hebrews 1:3, 4, 13).
(c) Because it is through this name that the name of God becomes a comfort to us. The attributes of God are the "name of God." To a Christless sinner all the attributes of God are against Him: wisdom (Jeremiah 17:10; 1 John 3:20); holiness (Habakkuk 1:13); justice; omnipotence. But the name of Christ makes the name of God a sanctuary (Proverbs 18:10), and a comfort: wisdom (Psalm 73:24; Matthew 6:32); holiness (1 Corinthians 1:10); justice (Romans 3:25-26; Romans 8:1); omnipotence (Romans 8:31).
(d) Because His name should be most precious and powerful in His Church through all generations (Matthew 18:20; John 14:13; 1 Corinthians 5:4; Matthew 28:19).
(3) How are we to understand that God hath given Him a name? As Mediator; for so only was He capable of exaltation. Not as God, for that cannot be, nor in the sense of the manifestation of His glory, for the sun is not exalted when the cloud is removed; nor as mere man, for humanity is incapable of such exaltation and worship; but as God-man.
3. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.
(1) What is meant by bowing the knee. Some understand this literally, but if "name" stands for power then kneeling must mean submission (Genesis 41:43; John 5:22-23).
(2) Who shall bow?
(a) All knees in heaven voluntarily.
(i) The good angels who always obeyed and honoured Christ (Daniel 9:24-25; Luke 1:30-31; Luke 2:13-14; Matthew 2:13; Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:43; Matthew 28:6; Acts 1:11; Hebrews 1:6; Matthew 25:31). All this service was performed unto Christ, not only as Creator (Colossians 1:16), but as Governor (Colossians 2:10; Ephesians 1:21-22).(
ii) The spirits of just men made perfect (Revelation 5:9-10; Revelation 4:8, 10).
(b) On earth(i) good men willingly (Psalm 110:3). By nature they are children of disobedience (Colossians 3:6-7, 1, 21; Romans 8:7). But the grace of God removes that "iron sinew" (Isaiah 48:4).(
ii) Evil men under compulsion; because they do not willingly bear Christ's yoke they shall become His footstool (Psalm 110:1).
(c) In hell (Luke 10:17; Luke 8:28-32; James 2:19; Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14).
4. That every tongue shall confess, etc.
(1) What is meant by every tongue? Not simply every nation but every person.
(2) What is meant by Jesus is Lord? (1 Corinthians 2:8).
(a) As Creator (1 Corinthians 8:6; Romans 11:36).
(b) As Son of God (Hebrews 1:2-4).
(c) As such He is a Lord to command us and to save us.
(3) As every knee must bow to Christ's dominion so every tongue must confess Him Lord.
(a) Devils and wicked men (Revelation 6:14).
(b) Saints and angels (Revelation 5:12-13).
II. THE END OF CHRIST'S EXALTATION. As God had no motive without Himself, so He had no end beyond Himself in giving Christ (Ephesians 1:6). For this Christ prayed (John 12:28).
1. Use of information, as Christ first suffered and entered into His glory (Luke 24:26), even so must we (Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 2:11).
2. Use of exhortation. Is Christ exalted? Then let us, our tongues, knees, hearts, lives, acknowledge Him to be our Lord.
(1) What Jews, Pilate, and Herod did in scorn, let us do in sincerity.
(2) Let us take heed that we do not violate our allegiance to Him (Exodus 5:2; Psalm 12:4: Luke 19:27).
(a) Christ is only a Saviour to those who submit to Him (Hebrews 5:9; Titus 2:11-12.
(b) Every knee must one day bow to Him.
(c) The sins of Christians are far greater than those of the Jews against Christ who sinned against Him in His state of humiliation (Hebrews 6:6). They did it in ignorance (Acts 3:17; 1 Corinthians 2:1).
(d) Christ at last will be too hard for the hardest-hearted sinner.
3. Use of comfort to believers.
(1) Is Christ exalted? then we may comfortably believe that He hath perfectly satisfied God's justice for us.
(2) Christ though exalted is still mindful of us (Hebrews 2:15-18).
(3) Christ is exalted to heaven, and so shall all believers be in due time (John 17:24; Corinthians 3:4).
(W. Taylor, A. B.)
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