Paul expressed confidence that God would deliver him from his present imprisonment through the prayers of the Philippian believers. He wanted his freedom!  04 drinkYet, he continued to assert the fact that the matter was not in his hands and that whether he lived or died, the result would be the same! Christ would be glorified! Now in Philippians 2:17 he returns to that motif. First he encouraged his readers to live lives that are worthy of their calling and to have the same mind that Christ had. This would fill his life with true joy. His own situation wasn’t as important as the situation and circumstances of the fellowship of the believers at Philippi. Then he says, “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.”

Paul’s future is in question. He doesn’t know for sure what will befall him in the days ahead but it didn’t matter. He was glad and rejoicing with the Philippians as they grew in Christ likeness and learned how to pursue the mission of the Gospel in one mind with one purpose, striving together, and seeing the good news of Jesus spread. Paul uses the sacrificial image that all Jewish believers as well as pagan idol worshipers would be familiar with. It’s the image of the “drink offering.” Hughes explains that “A priest would offer a sacrifice and then later pour out a sacrificial libation to complement it.” It seems that Paul is referring to the believers as priests in their own right and their sacrificial offering is “faith.” Then Paul adds his libation, or drink offering, to their offering of faith. The commentators aren’t sure exactly what that offering is that Paul is referring to but it may very well be his own death.

Paul exhorts us to think like Christ. In earlier verses he explained how we should be thinking like Christ who had divine glory but set it aside for the well being of others. We must learn to think like Christ in our relationships with each other. But Paul doesn’t merely speak to us with words only; he also gives us a living example. This was Christ’s teaching method as well. He showed them how to be servants by washing their feet and how to relate to children and many other examples throughout his life and ministry. It is clear that Paul sees his offering as a libation to the more significant offering of the Philippians. Their offering is the significant thing; his is the period at the end of the sentence. He saw himself as simply a complement to their sacrifice. They were not a complement to his sacrifice. Even in his metaphors Paul teaches us to “consider others more important than ourselves.”