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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Day Jesus left Heaven

Right now as I write this we are beginning the Easter season. Christmas was over three months ago and all of the decorations have been taken down. As I reflected on Christmas this year I had the image in my mind of heaven just before Jesus left to become the baby boy born to Mary and Joseph.

You know it was nine month before Christmas that Mary was impregnated with Jesus. So it is about the same time in April when we celebrate Easter that Jesus left heaven and it was around April when Jesus returned to heaven. I wonder what the significance of that is? I’ll figure it out someday.

Philippians 2:5 -8 Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what, not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

9 -11 Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father. (The Message Bible)

To comprehend what Jesus did, imagine him sitting on the throne in heaven next to the Father (they are one but yet still three separate entities). The Holy Spirit is all around. The moment has come. It is time for the baby Jesus to be conceived. The Angel appears to Mary and begins to tell her what is going to happen to her:

Luke 1: 30“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (KJV)

As the angel is telling her this, Jesus stands up in heaven and like an everyday piece of clothing he removes the glory of the father and lays it upon the empty seat of the throne. Then he lays down his majesty, royalty, omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience. He takes off everything except his bare deity and stands spiritually naked before all of heaven. For a brief moment heaven is quiet, not a sound, not a movement, life frozen in time. The heavenly choir is holding its breath. The flickering waves of glory that radiate from the throne stand still like frozen ice in space.

Then suddenly Jesus is gone. You could look through every inch of heaven and Jesus would not to be found because now he has come to earth. He has given up everything and now dwells in the form of a little baby fetus. He has become like us. His deity has joined with the human egg of Mary and for the next nine months he will grow in her womb just as any other man. Then for the next twelve years he will depend on human parents to provide for him, teach him and nurture him until he become a full grown man. Then at Age thirty he will begin his ministry and the rest of the story is well known.

Can you imagine Jesus giving up all those things he had in heaven, the power that created the worlds, the glory, the omniscience, the omnipotence and everything that made him who he was, God, and become a simple man? He was not only just a man but the perfect human sacrifice to pay for the sins of the whole world. That the life he chose to live would pay a painful price to redeem all of mankind from their sins and give them a new life. One in which they could live forever with him in heaven. From the day he was born, that first Christmas morning, he was destined to die a horrible painful death so we might live eternally.

Jesus gave all he had so we could receive all that the father could give; righteousness, peace, joy, fullness of the Holy Spirit and so much more. If we who are now in Christ Jesus are living by the power of Jesus then we are also created or I should say recreated to give as he gave. Not just our money but our time, our hearts, our lives if necessary so that others also might live eternally. Giving is supposed to be part of our new nature. Giving should be easy or is it.

We might think it was easy for Jesus to leave all those things in heaven and become a man, after all he is God, but maybe it was not so easy. The bible said he had to humble himself to become a man. That is not necessarily an easy thing to do. To be number one in heaven and take yourself down to become lower than the creatures that you created. Man had submitted himself to Satan and became a slave to Satan. Jesus was not under the power of Satan but had to accept the status of a slave to be truly human. Giving up his place in heaven wasn’t necessarily easy but Jesus was committed to the plan that the triune God developed before the foundations of the world. Giving was a choice and a commitment.

We always think of Christmas as the season of giving but Easter is the real time of giving. God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten Son. Jesus.


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