Filled to Be Emptied

David Landegent

READ : Philippians 2:5-11

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. (Col. 1:19)

People often talk about whether a glass is half-full or half-empty. Optimists think it's half-full, while pessimists think otherwise. (But I've always wondered why an optimist couldn't say, “Hey, this glass is only half-empty! I've still got lots left!”)

Paul, however, doesn't think about half-full or half-empty with regard to Jesus. Jesus is both empty and full. In Philippians 2:7, Paul praises Jesus because, even though he was in the form of God, he willingly “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men,” and even dying on a cross for us. By contrast, Paul declares in Colossians 1:19-20 that the one who was willing to empty himself, “making peace by the blood of his cross,” was nonetheless filled with the fullness of God. We could say that the fullness of God is revealed in the emptiness of Jesus.

The false teachers in Colossae missed this. They only saw Jesus as half-full of divinity, if that. To them, God's fullness was distributed among a wide variety of spiritual powers, Jesus being only one of them. But Jesus is not a partial sketch of God, a Readers' Digest version of the divine, a human being coated with a thin veneer of deity. The fullness of God dwells in Jesus alone. Therefore, in Christ alone we too can be filled with God's love so much that we can empty ourselves for others.


Lord Jesus, we give ourselves fully to you.