A bridge is the creation of an intersection between two separate points. There is a distance between holy God and sinful humanity. Jesus creates the intersection between God and humanity, and we are called to help people to that bridge to life.
We cannot reach God, so God reached out to us.
Here is the scenario of our human dilemma. God is holy and sinless and perfect. He is God, above all and creator of all. And we are encased in the death of our sin. We are corrupt and contaminated beyond our own repair. The distance between God, who demands righteousness, and you and me, who are unrighteous, cannot be spanned through our efforts.
Paul was a person who sought to reach God through his own efforts. His life was a model of living in religious devotion and dedication. If anyone could reach God through morality or religious duty, Paul could have done it.
“If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.” (Philippians 3:4-7, NKJV)
Paul’s dilemma and mine are the same. We strive to escape the emptiness of our soul and the chains that grip our heart. We work to build a bridge to God. The tools in our hand are the good works and religious duty that we embrace. Yet, try as we might, we fall short.
We could not reach God, so God in love determined to reach us. He sent Jesus to create the intersection, to build the bridge, between holy God and sinful humanity.
Jesus let go the glory of God’s throne to intersect with sinners.
Jesus Christ left the throne room of heaven to intersect personally with humanity so that He might fulfill God’s mission (Philippians 2:6-7). The statement of Jesus “being in the form of God” shows us that He is and always has been God. Jesus possessed the unchanging and essential nature of God. But Jesus willingly let go the glory of God’s throne. Jesus did not hold onto the glory of God’s throne for His own benefit, but He let go in order to bridge the distance between God and humanity. He emptied Himself to become a servant, even though He remained the King of creation.
Jesus, who is and always has been God, chose to become a real, physical man. He did not give up His deity, but He chose to take on humanity. Like the mathematical genius limits himself to teach math students, so Jesus Christ limited Himself to take on the garment of humanity.
The Son, in whom all the fullness of the Godhead resided, took the tools of redemption and built a bridge for sinners’ salvation. Jesus became a man, born in the womb of a virgin through the miraculous work of the Spirit.
Jesus became the Bridge.
God is holy and righteous. We are people perishing in our sin. We can’t reach God, so Jesus came to build the bridge to God. The tools in His hand were the holiness of His heart and actions and the blood that He would spill (Philippians 2:8).
As a man, Jesus determined to take the lowest place in order to build the bridge between God and man. In obedience to God’s purpose, Jesus paid the supreme price for you and me. That’s the powerful scope of God’s love. When we understand His suffering, we begin to understand the Son. Jesus by the grace of God tasted death for the sin of others that sinners might taste life through faith in Him.
Jesus became a man. He was attacked by Satan. He was abandoned, betrayed, and denied by His closest friends. He was rejected, despised, beaten, humiliated, and killed by His own. This is the great price that Jesus paid through personal suffering. Jesus took the place of sinners on the chopping block of sin. He is our substitute. The foundation of salvation is Christ’s sacrifice. He came and died and rose again so that humanity might have the chance for a relationship with God.
God’s response to Christ’s work is the declaration that the mission was accomplished. Jesus built the bridge and God has exalted Him (Philippians 2:9-11)! Jesus, the Lord and King of Creation to whom we are accountable, chose to take our place of judgment for sin so that we might have salvation and relationship with the Father. The Son’s appearing reveals the infinite mobility and passion of His love for sinners like you and me.
The bridge-building work is ours to fulfill.
There remains a distance between sinners and God. Jesus has built the bridge, but we are commissioned to bridge the distance. His work has become ours. He has given His heart for bridging the distance to His followers (Philippians 2:5). The term that is translated “let this mind” points to more than intellect or wisdom. It is a term in this context that points to purpose and intention. It is the way we live informed by the purpose of Christ Himself.
Just as Jesus “let go,” we must “let go.” Stop living solely for our own benefit and pursue God’s mission of love to perishing people. We live as the servant of God in service of His mission to perishing people.
Just as Jesus “humbled Himself,” we too must “humble ourselves.” We must live to serve God, not ourselves. Our obedience to God includes sharing His radical rescue with people who are far from Him.
Just as Jesus came to humanity to intersect with us as God’s servant, God calls us to intersect with people who are living in the dungeon of life apart from Him. We must cross the distance to sinners who are far from God and help them see the bridge to life, who is Jesus Christ. Our church exists to glorify God by intersecting with real people in real need for a real Savior.