As mentioned in yesterday’s message, the term “every knee shall bow” can be found in 3 places in the Bible. Yesterday we saw how it was integral to the description of the gospel message in Isaiah 45. Today we will look at the the two places in the New Testament that refers to this, and how it ties in with Jesus.
I want to encourage you to read the whole of Philippians 2 to get a proper overview of the context.
The key passage is set against the backgound of Christ humiliating Himself, and being obedient to the point of death. It is used to implore Christians to follow His example in also considering the interests of others. The reward, so to speak, of this obedience of Christ is where we pick it up.
Phi 2:9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
Phi 2:10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
Phi 2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
God exalted Jesus. The Greek word here is “huperupsoō“, which literally means “to raise to the highest position”. God Himself raised Jesus to the ultimate position. God raised Jesus to a position of authority, He gave Him a name that is above every other.
The result is that every knee will bow in venaration and honour of the name of Jesus. The name is significant, not because of the name itself, but because of the position it holds. As we saw yesterday, this is a universal statement. It applies everywhere, in all of creation, in heaven, on earth and beyond.
The next verse says that everyone, living and dead, will confess that Jesus is Lord. The greek word is “kurios“, meaning supreme in authority, and master or owner. After the resurrection of Jesus, this word is reserved for addressing Jesus alone.
The second passage, which confirms the above nicely, is in Romans 14.
Rom 14:9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Rom 14:10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;
Rom 14:11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
Rom 14:12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Here we see confirmation that Jesus is the ultimate authority over both the living and the dead. The noteworthy statement here is that everyone will be judged, and, at that time, those that have not bowed down and confessed, will do so at the time of judgment. At that time, all will give an account of themselves to God. If we continue to read the rest of the passage, then we see that the account we will give at the judgment seat is of our faith.
In conclusion then, just like everyone will one day meet God, everyone will bow down to God and confess that He is the ultimate authority. Some will be shamed into doing so, while others will gladly profess that here and now. If we are to avoid the judgment, we must repent, and confess that Jesus is the ultimate authority. It is for the glory of God.
We also see that this is an integral part of the gospel message. We are to repent and confess. What must we confess? It cannot be that we should confess our sins, that already happened during repentance. No, we must confess that Jesus is Lord, so appointed by God Himself. We must confess that we believe that Jesus is Lord because He was obedient to God, and carried out God’s mission of love. That mission is the one that resulted in our justification before the judgment seat, and should be a confession that we should be glad to make, proud to share and honored to keep.
Have you repented? Have you confessed? Do you believe that Jesus was exalted because He died on our behalf? If not, do so now. You never know when you will stand before the judgment seat, and be shamed into bowing before God and confessing His authority.