The world might not know it, but every person who ever walks this earth has an two-fold obligation to Jesus. The first is what Philippians 2:10 is about.
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,Philippians 2:10 (ESV)
Every person has an obligation to Jesus, first, to submit in obvious ways. To bow before Jesus is the obvious visual expression of lowering ourselves before Him who is clearly an authority far superior and far greater than we are. It is particularly Jesus’ highness—exaltation—that is the motivation for this obligation, for that is what, in verse 9, precedes the “so that” that begins verse 10.
The triad of “in heaven and on earth and under the earth” has a collective meaning simply meaning “everywhere”, and affirms that this obligation is for every knee. As individual categories of people, they specifically mention those already in heaven, those still on earth, and those who have died in unbelief and still awaiting judgment. We as Christians then, are those already fulfilling this first obligation to Jesus, and when we die, we continue faithfully in showing our humble submission before the exalted Lord Jesus. Those who have never bowed the knee to Christ on this earth, are nonetheless not exempt from the obligation, even if they have passed away. In fact, this verse, and the next, might well affirm that on judgment day all eventually recognise the Lord Jesus as Lord of all, and, though still rebellious, cannot deny the exaltation of Christ.
Simply put every person already in heaven, still on earth, or even dead, has an obligation to recognise how little they are compared to Jesus.
There is a second obligation every person has to Jesus, but we’ll let this one sit for this week so we can meditate on it, and then next Monday we’ll add verse 11.