Recently I wondered what Jesus’ final thoughts may have been during that last hour before He left heaven to come here. Jesus is about to exchange His divine life for one like ours. He’s about to become one of us so He can die and we can live.
Consider the implications. He is God, Creator of the universe, the self-existing One. There is nothing He doesn’t know, yet soon He will know nothing. In less than an hour, Jesus will give up His spectacular heavenly body forever. Soon He will be “God with us” in an amazing way — a fetus in the tummy of a Jewish peasant girl, likely a teenager.
He knows He won’t be a Tom Cruise or a Brad Pitt. But at this moment He makes those guys look pretty blah. He is still the fairest of ten thousand, the most striking Being in existence. Here’s what Jesus looked like when He appeared to John, His last surviving disciple:
“His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And His eyes were bright like flames of fire. His feet were as bright as bronze refined in a furnace, and His voice thundered like mighty ocean waves… . And His face was as bright as the sun in all its brilliance” (Revelation 1:14–16).
Keep in mind that this spectacular Being won’t “consider equality with God something to be grasped, but will make Himself nothing … and become obedient to death — even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6–8).
The Bible makes clear that once Jesus gets here, He will be quite plain, having “no beauty that we should desire Him.” It will be quite a comedown once His heavenly body is gone, and He will never get it back. You see, God didn’t just loan His Son to the human race, He gave Him to us.
For a few more minutes, Jesus is omnipotent. He can still speak worlds and galaxies into existence. “All things were made by him,” the Bible says. But saving, not creating, is His focus now. He who made everything is just moments away from setting aside His incomprehensible power for a stunning nine-month blackout.
During the next step in the rescue operation of the ages, He will be unconscious in Mary’s womb. It will be a dramatic difference for a Being who at the moment can “fill the whole universe” with His presence. Many scholars believe He won’t even know who He is for the first twelve years after He gets here.
For the moment, however, He’s still omniscient, with the most magnificent mind in the universe. If He chooses, He can launch His awesome intellect forward a hundred million — or a hundred billion — years to consider beings He will one day create. Just now, perhaps He is only gazing thirty-one years ahead as He calls out Peter, James, John, Judas. … Why in the world will Jesus reach out to Judas? That’s the sociopath who will betray Him.
Perhaps it will also be an attempt to reach you and me who may have some of the same tendencies.
Even a year from now He will only have the mind of a cooing, drooling baby needing His diaper changed. A baby born in a barn!
When He is twelve He will understand who He is for the first time and why He’s here. But His memories of heaven will remain hidden from Him. In heaven, He’s been the center of attention, adored by His Father, worshipped by angels. But soon He will be the focus mainly of His impoverished parents, some shepherds, a few wise men, and of the demons He once created as angels, who will be trying to kill Him throughout His earthly life.
He’s the Son of God, but soon He’ll become the Son of man. Like us, He will be subject to headaches, colds, the flu, and worse. Far worse! Far worse, of course, will include His ghastly second death, separated from God the Father while on the cross so that you and I need never know that horror. That’s what hell is really all about — eternal separation from God. Who in his right mind would choose that?
As the countdown continues, He sees His life’s closing scenes spiraling downward into the six hours of hell He’ll endure nailed to a cross. There He’ll hang and bleed until His heart breaks and He plunges into darkness.
Jesus sees it all clearly, but He’ll leave anyway. He has to. Because, you see, He is God — and God is love. Which means He won’t give us up even if it costs Him His life — and it will. Besides, He’s known from eternity this moment was coming. After all, He’s the Lamb of God “slain from the foundation of the world.”
Now the hour is up. Perhaps there’s a last embrace with His Father (they’ve never been apart before) and Jesus steps through the door and makes Himself nother (Philippians 2:7) so we can have everything. Neither heaven or earth will ever be the same again.
Nor will you or I, if we open our hearts to Him.