What Jesus Left Behind to Come Here
Jesus made great sacrifices for us. There is much to admire about our planet; there is much to look forward to in heaven.
Jesus' leaving heaven is like a painter becoming a brushstroke on his painting, or a playwright becoming a character in his own play. For some people, it is easier to imagine putting all the oceans in a teacup or trapping the atmosphere in a bottle than it is to understand that God would take on human form and walk this planet.
Jesus left behind many things to visit this world. First, he left the glory of heaven. We know very little about what heaven looks like. We know it is inhabited by God, his angels, and believers who have died. Revelation describes it as a beautiful place (21:1–22:7). Trying to describe it properly is beyond human language.
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By coming to earth as a human, Jesus took on certain limitations and weaknesses. For example, the timeless One became bound by time, by the passing of day and night. Formerly, he was above time, unaffected by its passing. On earth, time ticked by for him as it does for all of us.
God is described as being omnipresent—present everywhere at all times (Psalm 139:7–12). There is no place in heaven or on earth a person can go where God is not. During his earthly ministry, Jesus was bound by our three spatial dimensions.
He also took on basic human needs for food, rest, warmth, shelter, and more. In heaven he had no such needs, but on earth he felt hunger and thirst, weariness, and emotional and physical pain.
Take It to Heart
“Christ uncrowned himself,” William Dyer wrote, “to crown us, and put off his robes to put on our rags.” Jesus made great sacrifices for us. He left behind glorious things so he could take us in. There is much to admire about our planet; there is much to look forward to in heaven.
Check Your Understanding
When we think of Jesus’ sacrifices we usually think of the cross, but he made many others. What do those sacrifices teach us?
His sacrifices show the length of his love for humanity. The highest sacrifice is the cross, but we shouldn’t overlook all that he left behind.
If someone said, “Love isn’t defined by what we give, but by what we give up,” would you agree?
There is certainly some truth in that. Love is expressed in giving of ourselves, but it is also demonstrated by what we’re willing to give up for someone else.
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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. (Philippians 2:5-8 MSG)
This excerpt originally appeared in The Ultimate Guide to Jesus from Guideposts Books.