“But made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”
This section of Philippians sets forth the incarnation of Christ. He is presented as commencing at the highest point of the universe (“the form of God”) and stooping to the lowest imaginable place (the death of the cross).
“but made Himself of no reputation”
“No reputation” literally means He emptied Himself. This means He set aside the voluntary use of His incommunicable attributes (attributes that cannot be shared with men, such as omniscience (being all-knowing) and omnipresence (being everywhere present).
The Lord Jesus emptied Himself of the voluntary use of His deity to become incarnate. We often talk about the sacrifice of the cross. Yet the sacrifice of the incarnation is a sacrifice as well. The incarnation has been called “the great stoop.” He stooped from the presence of God to the place of men. There is no greater humility than that. Never in His history did Jesus ever stop existing as God. He took off His badge of the majesty of deity.
We do everything in our power to build a reputation, yet He shelved His rights as God. He thought more of us than He did of His own name. This was not forced upon Him. He was not manipulated into doing this. He did it of His own will. He relinquished the celebrity of His deity.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9)
“Became poor” means that He became a man. He was born in a stable into a carpenter’s family. He had no money, owned no real estate, wrote no books, founded no university.
Our Lord made His appearance in this world as a baby. He could conceivably have come as a full-grown man. That is the way Adam and Eve arrived in the world. Jesus chose to come as a baby.
Jesus was willing to subsume His name for others.
Do we love people enough to give up our reputation?