“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11)

Our text begins with the word “therefore.” Anytime we find this word in Scripture, we need to back up to the preceding verses in order to understand what is being said. In verses 5-8 of Philippians 2, we read of the humiliation, or humbling, of the Son of God. Though He existed in the form of God, He “did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.” This means that He did not feel that He had to “grasp or hold on to” His position, that of being “equal” with God. He was willing to empty Himself of the glorious form He had with the Father, “taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (verse 7). He did not empty Himself of His deity, only of the form of deity. “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:5-8). Jesus came to do His Father’s will. He came to die on the cross of Calvary as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. He came to provide eternal redemption to all who would trust in Him. “Therefore,” on the basis of Jesus’ humbling of Himself and His perfect obedience to the will of His Father, God has also highly exalted Him.”

Highly Exalted Him

“… He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:20-23).

By exalting Him in this way, the Father demonstrated His approval of His “beloved Son” and His satisfaction with the work that He accomplished at the cross. In this exalted position, we find the Son restored to the glorious form He had with the Father “before the world was” (John 17:5).

The Name Above Every Name

Not only has the Father “highly exalted Him,” He has also “given Him the name which is above every name.” Not just “a name,” but “the name.” The question is, “What name is meant?”
As we read on, in Philippians 2:10, it appears, at first, that the name “Jesus” is the name referred to: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.” There is no question that the name “Jesus” is a special name. It was the name given by the angel Gabriel to Joseph and Mary before Jesus was born.

“… and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).

According to Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon, the name “Jesus” means “Jehovah is salvation.” He was called “Jesus” for He was to become our “Savior.”

While the name “Jesus” is significant in meaning, it was His earthly name. “The name” given to Jesus of Nazareth, in connection with His exaltation, was much more!

On the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter preached to the people of Israel about the resurrection of Jesus, which was the first step in His exaltation. Peter showed them, from the Old Testament Scriptures, that in raising Him from the dead,

“God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

The unbelieving Jews looked at Jesus of Nazareth as just a man. By raising Him from the dead, God demonstrated that He was much more; He was both Lord and Christ!

The name “Christ” is the Greek word for the Hebrew “Messiah,” which means “Anointed.” Jesus was God’s Anointed One; anointed to be the Prophet of whom Moses spoke (Acts 3:22); anointed to be Israel’s promised King. Peter spoke of David’s prophecy that “the Christ” would be raised to sit on his throne.

“Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ.” (Acts 2:30-31)

Jesus of Nazareth was thus called “Jesus Christ” or “Jesus, the Christ.” After Saul of Tarsus was saved on the road to Damascus, this is the message he first preached to the Jews of that city.

“But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 9:22)

But Jesus of Nazareth was more than just “the Christ.” He was also “Lord.” This name clearly speaks of His deity. This is plainly declared in Hebrews 1:8-13 where we find two declarations made by God the Father concerning His Son.

“But to the Son He says: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” (Heb. 1:8-9)

These verses are quoted from Psalm 45:6-7 and show that the Father referred to the Son as “God,” the Hebrew word “Elohim.” As we read further in Hebrews 1, we find the Father also makes this statement about His Son.

“And: You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.” (Heb. 1:10-12)

These verses are quoted from Psalm 102:25-27 and show that the Father also referred to the Son as “Lord,” the Hebrew word “Jehovah.”

When we put all this together, I believe that the name given to the Son was His full title of “the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is “the name that is above every name.” It is interesting that this name is given special prominence in the writings of the Apostle Paul. There are 105 verses in the New Testament Scriptures that use all three of these names together, and 83 of these verses are found in Paul’s epistles.

“The Lord Jesus Christ” is a powerful name. This is seen several times in the early chapters of the book of Acts. Peter instructed Israel to be baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38). He and John had power to heal the lame man “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” (Acts 3:6, 16, 4:10). Peter declared to the Jewish rulers: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). We find this same truth in John’s gospel: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). And, again, in Paul’s letter to the Romans: “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).

This is not a name to be used lightly, in a frivolous or careless way. There are religious groups today who believe that just speaking the name of Jesus has some type of mysterious power, especially over Satan. We see a similar situation in Acts 19, which records Paul’s three year ministry in Ephesus. While in Ephesus, “God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul” (Acts 19:11). He was used of God to both heal the sick and cast out evil spirits, sometimes just through handkerchiefs or aprons that Paul had touched. As a result of this we read that:

“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” (Acts 19:13)

These men thought that calling on the name of the Lord Jesus, as Paul had done, would enable them to have the same power as Paul, but they were wrong! We read in Acts 19:15 that the evil spirit responded to them by saying, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit “leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” (Acts 19:16).

The name of the Lord Jesus Christ is a name to be honored, glorified, and revered. Too often we hear people using our Savior’s name in vain. They profane His name by exclaiming “Jesus,” or “Christ,” or even “Lord” when angry or upset. These days, movies, television shows, books and magazines are full of such profanity. While we might expect this from unbelievers, sometimes we find believers showing this same disrespect for Jesus’ holy name.

We need to remember that it is a privilege, granted to us by God, to believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved from our sins. It is also our privilege, not only to believe in His name, but to suffer for it as well (Phil. 1:29). The twelve apostles realized this and “rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). Paul and Barnabas were identified as “men who risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:26). Paul reminds us of how important the Savior’s name is in the lives of believers.

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Col. 3:17)

Every Knee Shall Bow

While the world persists in refusing, rejecting, and profaning the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, a time is coming when ” … at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Phil. 2:9). Every person will one day bow before Him in submission and worship (Rom. 14:11-12). This does not mean, as some mistakenly teach, that everyone will one day be saved (i.e. Universal Reconciliation). Believers will gladly bow before Him and worship Him with thankful hearts, but those who rejected the Lord all their lives will not willingly bow before Him; they will be commanded by God to bow. “Every knee” will include those “in heaven,” those “on earth,” and those “under the earth.” Every created being, whether men or angels, will one day bow before the Lord Jesus Christ.

Every Tongue Shall Confess

Not only will every knee bow before Him, but when they bow, “every tongue” will also “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:11). The word “confess” literally means that they will declare, openly and publicly, the same thing God that God says: “that Jesus Christ is Lord!” Those who willingly confess His name now, and believe in His death (for their sins) and His resurrection will be saved (Rom. 10:9-10), but those who reject Him now, will one day be commanded to confess His name, and afterward they will be condemned to the second death, eternal separation from God in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10-15).

What is the purpose for Jesus’ humiliation and subsequent exaltation? We find the answer in the last expression in Philippians 2:11: “to the glory of God the Father.” While Christ’s humiliation and death on the cross certainly brought great benefit to us, providing the way of salvation, His ultimate purpose was to bring glory to God (Eph 1:6). The same is true of His exaltation. The highly exalted position the Lord Jesus occupies today, “far above all the heavens” (Eph. 4:10), and the adoration He will one day receive, when every knee bows before Him and every tongue confesses Him as the “Lord Jesus Christ,” is all for the glory of God. It is just as Jesus prayed, the night before He went to the cross: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You” (John 17:1).

This is the essence of what is meant by the “mind” of Christ. His mind was set on one thing: the glory of God the Father. Thus, when Paul admonishes us, as believers, to “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5), he is, in essence, saying:

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31)