Why God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
I. The exaltation as THE REWARD OF THE OBEDIENCE.
1. The same Person is exalted who humbled Himself. We must not say that He was exalted in His humanity. It was not the man alone who humbled Himself. "Is Christ divided?"
2. The supreme elevation could never have been the prerogative of any created being. None but the eternal Son of the Father could have received or sustained it. But as the reward of His redeeming submission it could only be received in the person of Him who was man as well as God.
3. The redeeming God-man merited well in His obedience and death, and received an eternal and unlimited acknowledgment of His claim. The justice of God was satisfied by the punishment vicariously endured; and the love of God accepted that satisfaction as an expiation cancelling the sinner's obligation to suffer. And the elevation of the sufferer was the declaration that the merit of His supreme obedience availed for the whole world.
4. The very word here used is that which is employed concerning those to whom the benefit of Christ's merit is applied. We are "accepted" in the Beloved, or "graced" in Him; He was "accepted" or "graced" with the high rewards of exaltation. That, indeed, was His exaltation: not to have a name above every name simply, but to have in Himself a fulness of merit that should avail for all.
II. The exaltation AS THE NECESSARY CONDITION OR THE REDEEMING AND SAVING WORK.
1. As our representative Christ was exalted, i.e., as the mediatorial Redeemer. The resurrection and ascension are most frequently regarded as part of the process of His saving course. As He fulfilled that course He must needs pass into the heavens. In His Divine human person He has "gone up higher," but is still continuing His ministration. Had the merit of His sacrifice been simply rewarded as such, apart from His redeeming ministry, the Incarnate would have been set down literally on a throne to rest forever. In that case the language of the passage would have been different.
2. The saving name of Jesus is exalted. The "name" cannot refer to any particular designation conferred after the ascension; we know not what name could have been added to the glorious catalogue from "Emmanuel," the first, to "Lord Jesus," the last. We know from the Apocalypse that He has a new name, but we know also that it is only the old name more abundantly glorified; a name which He had from the incarnation, but whose full meaning could never be known until His human nature had passed through all its processes of discipline and become perfect. It is the mediatorial name, therefore, that is exalted, and that name is Jesus. Our Saviour's dignity is His power to save, only now He redeems not by price but by power.
III. The exaltation as RECEIVING UNIVERSAL RECOGNITION.
1. The homage paid to the name of Jesus is not here regarded as offered at once. It is the gradual result of His supremacy in heaven enforced in the promulgation of His claims on earth.
(1) The "beings in heaven" accepted the dignity of Jesus at once, and are first mentioned because they are the loftiest and most honourable. They watched His career and studied it intently; for He was seen of angels. A gradual recognition can hardly be asserted in their case, and in no sense can the Lord's supremacy be said to have been enforced on them.
(2) "Beings on earth" represent the whole race. The world is His because He has redeemed it, and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess — all science, philosophy, policy, power, genius, art. Before the scene of redemption ceases to be visited by His gospel and grace His Jesus name shall have been accepted by all mankind either in loyal love or despair.
(3) And "under the earth" also. Not a soul rebels there. He is Lord of the dead, and when the end comes Hades shall go out of existence at His word.
2. The confession is offered to the Lordship of Jesus. Our Lord receives this name in various senses.
(1) In one sense we may regard it as human purely as often in the gospels where the people seem to regard Him as a distinguished servant of God; and yet the language seems to waver between the respect due to a rabbi and the adoration due to God. Most beautifully does Thomas in the end rise from that human Lordship to the divinity of that Saviour whose dignity he felt at last.
(2) In another and preeminent sense Jesus is Lord as representing the Jehovah of the Old Testament; and in that sense He shares the dignity with the Lord the Spirit.
(3) But chiefly our Lord is such as the Mediatorial Person invested with authority over men and over the universe in consequence of His submission to the death of the Cross, as here. This dominion is given to One who deserved it by obedience, though He was capable of it only as God.
IV. The exaltation AS REDOUNDING TO THE GLORY OF GOD. The whole mystery of the economical submission, obedience, exaltation, and dominion of Christ tends to the glory of the Father.
1. The Father is literally the Father of the Eternal Son made flesh, and not the Deity in general. The Father is the essential as well as the redeeming name of Him to whom all glory is finally given.
2. The success of the mediatorial government of our Lord redounds to the glory of the Father inasmuch as it will justify and exalt the supreme wisdom of Him who originated the plan.
(W. B. Pope, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: