As we come tonight to prepare for a time around the Lord's table, as always it's such a wonderful time to share together and I want you to turn in your Bible to Philippians chapter 2. We're just going to look at Philippians chapter 2 in this tremendous portion of Scripture as a setting for the Lord's table tonight. And I've chosen Philippians chapter 2 because it connects so well to what we're looking at in the mornings. We are studying the birth of Jesus in the gospel of Luke and this morning we gave the first message and got into that first seven verses in which the birth of Christ is described. Next Sunday we'll finish those seven verses and gather the earthly view, if you will, the historical view of the birth of Christ.
But the view of the birth of Christ from earth, from the vantage point of the Roman world, the vantage point of Israel, the vantage point of Joseph and Mary is only part of the story...only part of the story. And Philippians, to me, is an interesting book. There's another sort of heavenly perspective in the book of Philippians and that's in the third chapter of Philippians where you have the inside story of the conversion of Paul. The historical story is in Acts 9. If you go to Acts 9 you read about Paul, he's got letters to persecute Christians, he's on his way to the city of Damascus to persecute the believers that are there on the road to Damascus. Tells us what happened, a great light shines, he becomes blind, he falls down in the dirt and he's called by the Lord. He's converted and he's basically called an Apostle. That whole thing is described for us as to the narrative of the actual events that went on on earth.
But if you want to know the heavenly view of Paul, if you want to know what God was doing in his heart, you go to Philippians chapter 3 and he describes what was going on in his heart when he says, "All his life he had accumulated certain works and certain privileges as a Jew and a member of the tribe of Benjamin and a Pharisee and being zealous for the law, all of that. But all of that is considered to be manure or dung, waste, refuse when he found out the reality about Jesus Christ and exchanged his own righteousness for the righteousness of God, and so forth. So you get the inside story, you get the heavenly view, you get the theology of the conversion of Paul in Philippians. You get the narrative in the book of Acts.
Well also the same is true in chapter 2 of Philippians. It corresponds to Luke chapter 2 in the sense that it gives us the inside story of the historical events that were going on at the birth of Jesus Christ. It's one thing to say Joseph and Mary came down there, Mary had a baby, the baby was born in Bethlehem, the baby was laid in a manger and wrapped in cloths because there was no room at the inn. Go on to tell about the shepherds that came. Go on a little later and hear the story of the wise men and so forth. That's the earthly view, that's the narrative, that's the historical story. The real story of the birth of Christ is to see it from heaven's perspective, what was really going on there theologically, and that's what you find in Philippians chapter 2 more clearly than any other passage of Scripture. So Philippians chapter 2 is the theology of the incarnation, whereas Luke 2 is the history of it.
Let me read to you Philippians chapter 2 verse 6 and following. We have to have an antecedent for verse 6 so we pick it up at verse 5, "Christ Jesus," now we know who we're talking about. "Christ Jesus who although He existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself taking the form of a bondservant and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, also, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."
Now that is the classic text on the kenosis, the self-emptying of Jesus. That is the classic text on the theology of the incarnation...what was actually going on there when that little baby was born, what was going on from heaven's vantage point.
And there's a sequence here and I want to take you through five steps that occurred in the incarnation. Five steps as God became man, as God entered the world to be born in Bethlehem. You might say that in reality this is the real Christmas story, this is what was actually happening. I'll give you five little brief statements that I hope will be somewhat memorable so you can identify them as we go.
First of all, God abandoned a sovereign position. The second person of the trinity God, the second person abandoned a sovereign position. Verse 6 says, "Although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself," that's the first point. When the Lord came into this world He abandoned a sovereign position.
Now the theme here is...who...and who takes you back to Christ Jesus. He is the theme of this passage. And it identifies, first of all, His sovereign position by saying this, "Who existed in the form of God." That is a very important phrase, that is loaded with essential theological truth. Actually "being in the form of God," or "existing in the form of God," may serve the verb better than "He existed," as if it was some past thing and a past thing alone, but rather "being in the form of God" would be perhaps a better way to translate it.
Being denotes what a person is in his essence, in his being, what cannot be changed. Taking it from the standpoint of the human world, you can do a lot of things to yourself. In fact, today you can just about do anything you want to yourself. You can have plastic surgery on everything. You can have your shape and form changed. You can have your face altered. You can have hair implanted into your head. There's just no end to the things they can do to change your appearance, but there's nothing anybody can do to change your essence as human. You cannot become anything other than a human being. Essence is that which cannot be changed, it's that which you possess inalienably, it's something that cannot be taken away from you, something that cannot be altered. That's your being, that's your existence. It refers to your innate, unalterable, unchangeable character, nature or ability. It describes that part of a person which in spite of all the chances that they might take, of all of the opportunities they might grasp, of all the changes they might undergo, of all the circumstances they might experience, they remain essentially the same. They can be single, they can be married, they can be widowed, they can be divorced, etc., etc. They can be rich, they can be poor, they can be wise, they can be foolish. They can be fast. They can be slow. Those things do not alter basic human essence. You can be healthy, you can be ill. You can be whole, you can be lame.
And so we're talking here about essential being. And what it says here, very importantly, is that Jesus in His essential being was in the form of God, He was existing in the form of God. He has always, is always, will always exist in the form of God. That's why He could say in John 8:58 to the Jews, "Before Abraham was, I am." He is the brightness of the Father. He is the express image of God. He is literally the One who it says in the book of Hebrews could be described as the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of God's nature, or essence or being. And, of course, that is essential to the Christian faith. Colossians 1:15 reminds us, He is the image, literally the replica, the duplicate of the invisible God. First Timothy chapter 3 verse 16 tells us that He who was revealed in the flesh was vindicated in the Spirit, beheld by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world and taken up to glory. It was He, God, who was revealed in the flesh and eventually after that fleshly time was over, was gathered back into the glory which He had from eternity past with the Father in His presence.
Now the rest of the phrase enforces this. Look at the word "form," if you will, there. His essence was in the form of God. Unfortunately the English word "form" doesn't do it. When you think of the English word "form" you might think of a piece of paper that's a form you need to fill out. Or you might think of a form that is used as a mold, to put something in and it comes out a mold replicating that form. The Greek word is really different in the sense that the word is morpheand morpherefers to the deep inner essential abiding nature of something. When we say "form" we could be meaning that He came in the form of something but He wasn't really that. But the Greek term morphemeans the essential nature of something.
There's another word in Greek that refers to something that is merely an appearance on the outside and that's the Greek word schemafrom which we get the word "scheme." It's used down in verse 8 and it says "In being found in appearance as a man," He took on the appearance of a man. That's what people saw. That wasn't the real essence of who He was, but that's what people saw and they said, "Well, this is just a man, this is just the son of Joseph, this is just a guy from Nazareth, what's so important about him?" Schemarefers to the external appearance, it refers to something that can change. And the schema, the appearance of Jesus, did change dramatically after His resurrection when He received a glorified form in which He still exists.
But morpherefers to something that is innate, inherent to the inner essential abiding nature of the individual. Morphe, for example, is the word used in 2 Corinthians 3:18 where it says we are transformed into the same image, the image of the Lord from one level of glory to the next. Literally, we take on His nature, an abiding change in nature takes place. Galatians 4:19, Paul was praying that Christ would be fully formed in us. He used the word morphe. He wants to see the complete reality of the living Christ in the inner life of believers. That's morphe. Schemais used, for example, in 1 Corinthians 7:31 and it translated "the fashion of this world." The appearances of this world. Satan, schema, Satan fashions himself, 2 Corinthians 11:14, to an angel of light. He...he looks like an angel of light on the outside but essentially he's the angel of darkness, isn't he? That's the difference between the word schemaand the word morphe.
Jesus was in the morpheof God. He was literally in the form, the essential being and nature of God. That's the first and very essential thing to understand. And follow what it says in verse 6. "Consequently He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped."
Now what did I say about your essential being and what did I say about your morphe? I said this, that it is that part of you which is unchangeable, right? Unalterable, permanent, it's your essential being. You can change the forms on the outside, the schemaon the outside, but the true reality of your essential being is unchangeable. Jesus existed in the morpheof God, unchangeably so. He can never be anything but God. Therefore He did not regard equality with God something to hold on to. What does that mean? Two things it means. The word can literally mean to snatch something. It wasn't as if He saw equality with God and wanted to snatch it. It wasn't as if He saw equality with God and wanted to grasp it, clutch it. It can be translated "to clutch...to snatch...to seize." He didn't have to somehow go after equality with God to get it. He didn't have to snatch it or seize it. He didn't have to fight to get it. He already had it, it was His essential nature.
Also, it's true to say He didn't have to grasp it. That word can be translated that way. It wasn't something He had to hold on to for fear He might lose it. It might have been that somebody would think...Well, if Jesus came into the world and gave up His divine prerogatives in heaven with God and He came all the way down here He might forfeit what He had, He might somehow lose His privileges, He might somehow lose His deity. Couldn't happen. Deity, eternal godhood was not something He had to snatch to make His own and it wasn't something He had to hold on to for the fear of losing it because neither could happen. It was already His essential nature. This is the heart of all Christian doctrine, folks, this is at the heart of the whole Christian faith that Jesus Christ is eternally God. He doesn't need to seize upon Godhood, nor does He need to clutch it as something He might lose because it is His by essential nature.
The remarkable thing, the really amazing thing is that even though although He was a being who was in every sense God and didn't need to either seize it or hang on to it, He still...verse 7...emptied Himself. One of the translators says, "He made Himself of no reputation." "Empty Himself" is better. He emptied Himself. That's what the Greek means. That's where we get the idea of kenosis. And the verb actually means to pour out until it's all gone, to empty it, to dump it all out.
Now what did He dump out? Well one thing we know He didn't dump out was His essential nature, right?, because it was unalterable. When He came into the world He was still God, He'll always be God, that cannot change. What did He pour out? He stripped Himself of privileges, not nature. And He changed His form, His schemaon the outside. He changed His appearance, having been up to that point a spirit who on occasion appeared in the Old Testament as an angel, He now takes on the appearance of a man, as verse 8 indicates. This did nothing to His deity, didn't change His deity, didn't alter His deity in any way, shape or form. That would be impossible because that is His essential nature. He remained fully God, but He stripped Himself, He emptied Himself, He poured out until it was all gone.
And what was it that He poured out? Well, first of all, John 17:4 indicates that He poured out His glory. When He came down to this earth it was a really inglorious arrival, wasn't it? He was laid in a manger. He was the child of a humble teen-aged girl. His earthly father was a humble, young man who was a carpenter. He was born in obscurity. Lived most of His life in an obscure, out-of-the-way place. He gave up the unimaginable glories of heaven for that. Isaiah 53:3 says, "He gave up something of His beauty, in fact He became so ugly, as it were, that there was no beauty in Him that we should desire Him," Isaiah says. He's depicting Christ in His excruciating agony, hanging on the cross having no human attraction.
He gave up the right to enjoy all the riches of eternal glory. In 2 Corinthians 8:9 it says He became poor for our sakes that we might become rich. It doesn't mean He became poor in an earthly way. It doesn't mean He didn't have a lot of money down here, didn't have a lot of wealth. That isn't what it's talking about. When it says He became poor, it means He stripped Himself of some of His eternal riches. He sent the Messiah to come and submit Himself to earthly conditions. And this is poverty at its worst level compared with the riches of eternal glory.
He also gave up His favorable relationship with God to the degree that on the cross He had to say, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Repeatedly it tells us, particularly in the gospel of John, that He gave up the independent exercise of His attributes. He makes the statement on a number of occasions that He only did what the Father told Him to do, He only did what the Father showed Him to do. And He also said that if you say anything against My ministry, you're blaspheming the Holy Spirit, Matthew chapter 12. Now blaspheming the Holy Spirit because He submitted Himself to the work of the Holy Spirit, so He literally submitted Himself, He set aside the independent free exercise of all His attributes. He didn't lose His attributes, none of them. He didn't cease to be God a very God, but He set aside the independent exercise of those attributes and yielded to the will of the Father in the power of the Spirit in His incarnation. He was still God but He restricted the use of His rights and privileges and powers voluntarily.
John Milton said, "That glorious form, that light insufferable He laid aside and here with us to be forsook the courts of everlasting day and chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay." That's exactly what He did.
A reporter was interviewing a successful job counselor. And this job counselor had placed hundreds of people in jobs, vocations and he had had a great success rate. So he was asked by this reporter, "Why are you so successful in placing people in strategic positions in leadership as a job counselor?"
And he answered, and I think this is really wisdom. He said, "If you want to find out what a person's like, don't give him responsibilities, give him privileges." Boy, that's wise.
Most people will handle responsibilities if you pay them enough. But it takes a real leader with real character to handle privileges. A leader will use his privileges to help others and build the organization. He'll work hard and he'll sacrifice. A lesser person will use privileges to promote himself and fulfill his own desires. That's great wisdom.
Jesus had all the privileges, no question, all the privileges, all the privileges of glory. And He chose to use the privilege to become a servant to the Father and a Savior to sinners for the sake of sinners and the sake of the glory of the Father. He's like a king who takes off his robes, takes off his crown, comes down off his throne, puts on the rags of a slave.
So, first of all, as I gave you the first point, He abandoned a sovereign position. No less deity, but He stepped down from the independent use of those attributes of deity.
Secondly, not only did He abandon a sovereign position, He accepted a servant's place...He accepted a servant's place. Verse 7 says, "Having emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant." Here's morpheagain. He didn't just look like a servant, He really became one. His essential being in humanity, His essential being even as God was to be a servant. At the moment that He divested Himself of the robes of majesty, at the moment that He set His crown down and walked out of the throne room, He donned the apron of a servant. He is a servant, according to Isaiah 52:13 and 14, He's a suffering servant. Psalm 40 verses 7 and 8 said the Messiah would be a servant. He wasn't just playing at a servant, He wasn't just pretending to be a servant. Listen, if anybody was ever a servant, He was a servant. He took upon the morphe, the essential inner essence, the very being of a servant.
He, the sovereign master of the universe, became the true servant of God. As truly as He was God, so truly was He a servant of God. Luke 22:27 He said, "I am in the midst of you as one who serves." Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45, "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many." He depicted that so dramatically in John 13, of course, when He washed the feet of the disciples. He was truly in every sense a real servant.
So, when you think about the birth of Christ, you think about the incarnation, you think about how He abandoned the sovereign position and accepted a servant's place and literally His servants...His service was so real, so essential, so innate that He gave His life to serve the purposes of the Father and the needs of sinners.
Thirdly, He not only abandoned the sovereign position, accepted a servant's place, He approached a sinful people...He approached a sinful people. Well this, too, is part of His condescension. You could understand that an infinitely holy God would have no desire whatsoever to associate with a sinful people. But having divested Himself of His majesty, having taken on the role of a servant, and more than that, literally having become a servant, His service to the Father was rendered by coming to this sin-cursed planet, approaching a sinful people. That's what He did. It says in verse 7, at the end of the verse, "Being made in the likeness of men." "Being made," ginomainos(??), participle meaning "becoming...becoming." It speaks of a state which is changeable, which is not necessarily permanent. It's a change. That's very important because He already was who He was as God, this was a change...He became something He had never been before, and that was a man...a man. Always God He became, at some point, a man. It says He was being made in the likeness of men. That is simply to say He was like other men.
The first part of that word is homowhich is like, homogenous. He was like other men. He had all the essential attributes of humanity. He was a genuine man. He was a true man. He was a real human being. He was made in the likeness. He was made like men.
And it says, verse 8, "He was found in appearance as a man." That's schema. He not only looked like a man, He really was a man. It's important that if all you had was verse 8, schema, you might think that He just took on the appearance of a man but wasn't really a man. That's why it's important to see the end of verse 7, "He actually was made in the very likeness of man." He became one of us, true humanness, just like other men. And He looked like other men. Not only inwardly, essentially was He human, but outwardly He was human as well. I like that little verb "being found," it means to discover. People discovered that He was in the schemata, the fashion, the outward manifestation of men. He looked like everybody else, frankly. If you think that Jesus was going down the street with some kind of multiple halos around His head like the rings on Saturn, you're wrong. If you think He sort of glided through town three feet off the ground, you're wrong. He was just a man like every other man in appearance. He took on the schemaof man.
Apart from sin, and may I hurry and add to you the very important note that sin is not a necessary element of humanity. Was there ever a man who lived without sin? Was there? What was his name? Adam, Eve...of course, Jesus, but talking about just those who were not God, there was a time when man lived without sin. It's not essential to the nature of man to sin. He was like other men. He was fully God and He was fully man without sin.
How do men come into the world? Are they born into the world by means of an earthly mother? So was He. In His day they were wrapped in little cloths, so was He. Did men start out as babies and then become toddlers and then become little boys and then grow to teen-agers and then become adults? So did He. Do men born into this world have brothers and sisters? So did He. Do men born in this world find some path of employment, learn a trade? So did He. Are men hungry and thirsty and weary and sleepy? So was He. Men in this world find friends and people to care for them and love them? So did He. Are men grieved and sometimes angry, do they weep at times? So did He. Do they sometimes rejoice? So did He. Are men destined to die? So was He. You see, in every way He was in the appearance of a man because He was essentially and genuinely a man.
You know that little Christmas carol, "The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus no crying He makes." I don't buy that. Do babies cry? He was without sin, not without tears.
Listen to the words of a poet. "Hast thou been hungry, child of mine? I too have needed bread. For forty days I tasted not till by Thy angels fed. Hast thou been thirsty? On the cross I suffered thirst, for thee I've promised to supply thy need, come to Me. When thou art sad and tears fall fast, My heart goes out to thee for I wept o'er Jerusalem, the place so dear to Me. And when I came to Lazarus' tomb, I wept, My heart was sore. I'll comfort you when you weep till sorrows are all o'er."
And, you know, the world recognizes humanness. They just didn't recognize His deity. He came as a man to serve God and man. Laid aside His privileges as God, abandoned a sovereign position, accepted a servant's place, approached a sinful people, and number four, adopted a selfless posture.
Once He got here as a man, He could have taken on a number of possible postures in life. He could have chosen any level of society. He could have put Himself in any situation. He could have been born into the families of the highest and best, the greatest and noblest. But He adopted a selfless posture. Back to verse 8, it says, "Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself...He humbled Himself."
He ends u in a little carpenter shop working alongside His father, Joseph, making a yoke for the oxen of a farmer. He was the one who made the universe. We find Him washing the feet of the Twelve and yet He commands the hosts of ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands and thousands of angels. He adopted a selfless posture. You see that even in His birth and we'll see that next Sunday morning. In the humblest, humblest circumstances He was born. To the most non-descript people, commonest of people, He takes the place of selfless humility.
One of the great writers in the history of the church, St. Augustin, or Augustine, seemed always enamored with the humility of Jesus, and rightly so and wrote eloquently of it. Listen to what he said, "The Word of the Father by whom all time was created was made flesh and was born in time for us. He without whose divine permission no day completes its course wish to have one day for His human birth. In the bosom of His Father He existed before all the cycles of ages, born of an earthly mother He entered upon the course of the years. The maker of man became man that He, ruler of the stars, might be nourished at the breast, that He the bread might be hungry, that He the fountain might thirst, that He the light might sleep, that He the way might be weary by the journey, that He the truth might be accused by false witnesses, that He the judge of the living and the dead might be brought to trial by a mortal judge, that He justice might be condemned by the unjust, that He discipline might be scourged with whips, that He the foundation might be suspended on a cross, that He courage might be weakened, that He security might be wounded, that He life might die. To endure these and similar indignities for us, to free us, unworthy creatures, He who existed as the Son of God before all ages without a beginning, deigned to become the Son of Man in these recent years. He did this although He who submitted to great evils for our sake had done no evil, and although who were the recipients of so much good at His hands had done nothing to merit these benefits," end quote.
He humbled Himself. How far down did He go? Look at the verse again. "All the way down to becoming obedient unto death." All the way down to death. That was the Father's will that He come into the world and die in the place of sinners. He stooped not just to live in a humble home, not just to be the child of poor parents, or at least parents who weren't wealthy. He came all the way down below economic considerations, all the way down to serious and spiritual and moral considerations. He came down to become shamed, to become cursed. He was made accursed for us, it says in Galatians. He received the full fury of the judgment of God upon Him. He came all the way down, all the way down to death. And not just humbled, and not just to death, but look at this, "Even death on a cross."
The Apostle Paul in writing this descends one more level because nothing was more horrible...horrifying, nothing was more ignominious, nothing was more cruel than to be executed on the cross. The worst torture instrument ever dreamed up by anybody. Those who write about crucifixion write about its excruciating pain. It was said that a person who was crucified died at least a thousand times.
Not only was it painful but it was shameful. It was reserved for the death of the vilest, the most despised, hanging there in utter disgrace, humiliation, shame and nakedness.
And death on the cross also for Him, as I noted, meant the curse of God. Deuteronomy 21:23 and it's recorded in Galatians 3 said, "He that is hanged on a tree is cursed by God." Death on the cross was a horrible, horrible thing. And if you added loneliness of Jesus when He said, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" He came down and humbled Himself. How far down? Even to the point of death. How far down? Even death on the excruciating cross.
And so, when that little child was born in Bethlehem it was the Lord of heaven abandoning a sovereign position, accepting a servants place, approaching a sinful people, adopting a selfless posture, even to death on a cross. In response to all of that, as we bring this to a conclusion, look at verses 9 to 11 because you can't stop at verse 8, He ascended a supreme prince...He ascended a supreme prince.
Verse 9 says, "Therefore also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name." What is that name? Lord, that's what that name is, it's not Jesus, that was His earthly name. That was already His name. The name that is above every name is the name Lord, and that is the name, verse 10 says, "At which every knee bows whether in heaven or earth or under the earth. That is the name at which every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ IS Lord to the glory of God the Father."
He came all the way down and the Father took Him all the way back up. Think of His baptism into the waters of judgment, in humility He left the comfort and peace of Galilee, in humility He was baptized by John, in humility He identified with the sins of His people, in humility He bore their sins in His own body on the cross. For all of that He was exalted by the Father, given the place in glory. In humility He was tempted in the wilderness. In humility He fasted in repentance for the sins of the nation. In humility He trusted in the Father right through Satan's fierce temptations, refusing the fulfillment of God's promise on His own terms...even refusing angelic assistance, refusing national honor and waiting on the Father's will. In humility He told His disciples He was going to die. In humility He told them they were going to have to follow a similar path. In humility He submitted to unfair trials, and degradation, shame, agonizing death, sin bearing, the wrath of God, the judgment of His Father.
But in the end, because He was a faithful servant He was given a name above every name, the name is Lord...Lord of the universe, Lord of all Lords. And His exaltation causes for worship and veneration from everyone everywhere, every knee in heaven, on earth, under the earth. In heaven, that's all the folks that are in heaven whether they're the redeemed spirits of just men made perfect, or whether they're angels. On earth, that's all the people alive on earth. Under the earth has to do with all the damned, demons and men. He is so marvelous, so exalted, all bow the need to His lordship. Every tongue then should confess Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of God the Father.
And that's essentially what we've done. We have by the grace of God, by the mercy of God, been led to the place where we've confessed Jesus as Lord. If you confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart God's raised Him from the dead, you're saved, Romans 10:9 and 10 says. That's exactly what we have done.
As we come to the Lord's table tonight, it is again to take us back to reflect over this glorious condescension, this glorious humiliation. You can be sure that all the folks collected around Bethlehem who were there either near or far from Joseph and Mary when the baby was born, all the people who were around and saw the birth, must have been some folks there, must have been a crowded place, all the people who saw that little couple going through this and realized what had happened had absolutely no idea that what was just described to you in Philippians 2:5 to 8 was really what was going on. But we understand that, don't we? So when we read the narrative in Luke and we read that Mary gave birth to a baby, we can fill that simple statement with all of this profound theological reality. That's why we worship Him. That's why we adore Him. That's why we remember His death for us. Let's bow together in prayer as we prepare to take the cup and the bread, symbols of that remembrance of His humiliation, His incarnation and death for us.