Ever wonder what would have happened if, after His death on the cross, Christ would have simply returned to the Father in Heaven and stayed there? If I were Jesus, it sure would have been tempting.
Think about it: YOU ARE GOD, You give up every privilege afforded You to put on frail flesh and blood and become a dependent human being Who suddenly needs His diaper changed and can’t even speak an intelligible word. You leave the indescribable glories of heaven to take up residence in a broken, messed up, dying and decaying world. You live with, love, heal, touch, accept, and serve people who only want more, more, more from You and try to kill You. Your closest friends, no matter how much You’ve poured into them and given to them, ditch You in Your moment of greatest need. If I WERE JESUS, I’d say, “Ok Dad, I’ve had enough. Look, I gave EVERYTHING, literally EVERYTHING I HAVE for these people – IT IS FINISHED! I’m coming home!”
And you know what — I think that would have been enough. Romans 5:10 tell us that “our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies…” In other words, technically the bill was paid. The debt humanity owed because of our sin was wiped clean. The penalty we should have served, Jesus took care of for us. All of that accomplished through His death on the cross. DEED DONE!
If I were Jesus, I would have gone home. After the beyond-comprehension experience of the crucifixion? I would have DEFINITELY gone home!
But what was in God’s heart was something greater. He wasn’t content with simply restoring friendship with humanity. There was more in God’s heart. God saw 2 things:
1 – The ultimate blow to His enemy.
2 – Humanity continuing the work on earth He started.
The Ultimate Blow: What could be more humiliating, more demeaning to His adversary than for frail humanity to be granted salvation life and become carriers of the very life and power of God themselves? Not just in eternity would humanity have victory over the enemy but Christ rising to new life ON EARTH made it possible for humanity to live victoriously OVER THE ENEMY IN THIS LIFE. God did “exceedingly abundantly beyond” the requirements and put the icing on the cake by rising from the dead to live new creation life here on earth, giving that same resurrection life and power to those who would believe in Him. This is the power that makes possible the “good works element” of our faith.
Christ’s death took care of the penalty of sin. Christ’s resurrection life took care of the power of sin and made it possible for humanity to now live an overcoming life; to live according by a different life source (God’s life) and according to a different system – that of a perfect, powerful, ever expanding, eternal Kingdom. It made possible for us to now live out our purpose – to carry out the “good things He planned for us long ago”.
God always, always, always, goes far beyond what is simply required – how could we live anything less?