If you’ve ever returned from a wonderful vacation, you understand how brutal re-entry into reality can be. The joy of the journey abruptly comes to a halt as routines return and mounds of laundry pile up, wrinkled clothes reminiscent of better days, begging to be washed.
Can you imagine, then, how grueling it was for Jesus as He left the glory of heaven to step into the grunge and grime of the world?
He left the place where He reigns as light to overcome the darkness (Isaiah 60:19, John 1:5).
He left the place where there is no sickness to bind up wounds and bear our diseases (Psalm 147:3).
He left the place where there is no brokenness to bring restoration to the desolate places (Isaiah 49:8).
He left the place of bounty to satisfy the physical and spiritual hunger of humanity (Matthew 14:20, Mark 8:8).
He left the place where there is no mourning, where tears are collected like precious holy water, to wipe away every tear from every eye (Psalm 56:8).
He left the place where there is no sin to become sin and bring us to the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
He left the place where there is no death to bring life and resurrection for all who believe in Him (Revelation 21:4).
“I came from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father” (John 16:28).
Jesus bought a roundtrip ticket from Paradise to Hell to do the saving work of the Gospel.
From the time He entered the womb, Jesus laid down His Lordship to take up His humanity (Philippians 2:6-7). The all-powerful God became dependent, struggling under limited stature and wisdom imposed upon Himself (Luke 2:40, 52). Conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, Jesus was fully God and fully man. He took on our sin-infested human nature, yet lived without stains or shame, never ceasing to be God (Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:35, John 1:1, 14).
He left the place where He was adored by angels to be hated by men. He left the place where His sweet aroma filled the throne room to be born in a stench-filled stable. He came from a divine stronghold to desperate squalor. The boundless God took on the boundaries of flesh, fenced in by fatigue and weakness and need.
The lowly shepherds, not the magi, were the first to lay eyes on God incarnate (Luke 2:17). A promiscuous woman, not a priest, was the first to be told that He was indeed the Messiah (John 4:26). Another woman, once possessed by seven demons who Jesus drove out, was the first to see the risen Christ (John 20:16-18).
Jesus always prefers people over privilege, redemption over religion, which is why He submitted to the providence of God to purge mankind of its systems and sacrifices and hierarchy.
The Savior became the suffering servant so that we could share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:10). Can you even imagine?
While Jesus easily could have commanded angels to bring Him the comforts of the cosmos, He willingly took on all the cruelties of the cross. While He could have declared Himself King of the World, He willingly bore the taunting title “King of the Jews”. While He could have worn the imperishable crown of glory, He willingly wore the twisted crown of thorns (Matthew 27:28-31, John 19:2-3).
The fullness of His divine nature took on the fullness of human degradation.
Jesus deprived Himself by denying many of the powers of His deity, emptying Himself so that He could dine with sinners, liberate murderers, befriend tax collectors and bring the Kingdom of God to earth.
What a tender Savior that He would take on the wrath of God in a way that would allow man to see and hear and touch Him, that He would dawn the dusty roads of this earth and isolate Himself to places we can go and visit today.
Go and sin no more was and still is His mantra (John 8:11). He came to preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom to the captives, and give sight to the blind (Luke 4:18).
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17).
When Pilate, the Roman governor, asked Jesus if He was in fact a king, Jesus simply and unequivocally replied, “I was born for this …” (John 18:37).
Jesus came on a rescue mission for His beloved. He came to earth to glorify God and to gain eternal life for us.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Just as Jesus returned from death to life after His crucifixion, He will return once again from heaven to earth. But this time His triumphal entry won’t be on a borrowed donkey but on a heavenly horse.
It will be the ultimate re-entry.
“Then I saw heaven opened and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and he judges and makes war with justice. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on his head … He wore a robe dipped in blood… And he has a name written on … his thigh: King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:11-13, 16).
All of the things in your life right now that aren’t as they should be – a sick body, a broken heart, an anxious soul – will be redeemed by King Jesus, the worthy Warrior who battles for His bride. The victory is already His (I Corinthians 15:57).
“But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy from you (John 16:22).
When you enter heaven, there will be no turning back, no re-entry into a lesser place. Only eternal bliss with Christ. And when you enter into relationship with Jesus - right here on earth - abiding in Him and He in you, you will never re-enter the shack of your old self (II Corinthians 5:17).
You may linger in those dilapidated doorways for a bit, but the darkness can never overcome the light once you are hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3). You will journey to new places spiritually, emotionally and physically as His joy is in you and your joy is made complete in Him.
This is your destiny, not a vacation that requires packing up and heading back, but a permanent destination - an eternal home with Jesus. Thanks be to God!